Monday, 1 December 2014

CP-IS - the dangers of slow roll-out

I am a fan of the CP-IS information IT system for child protection. It is designed to ensure that members of NHS staff (e.g. in Accident and Emergency Departments) are alerted if a child is subject to a child protection plan or is in the care of the local authority.

I was very much enthused by recent reports that it is now being rolled out. However, following up on those reports I have discovered some not so good news – the roll out is scheduled to take quite a long time and doesn’t seem to include Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland! Even by 2018 it is anticipated that only 80% of NHS sites in England will be integrated into the system.

Given the rapid speed at which many IT projects progress, I can’t understand why what seems to be a straightforward piece of work is taking so long. Is the project under-funded or are local authorities dragging their feet in supplying the data? We are not told.

The report of project progress also draws attention to a danger associated with the slow progressive implementation, namely that NHS staff may wrongly presume that data is being shared in their area when it is not.

That must not be allowed to happen. Wrongly thinking that a risk does not exist is much worse than not knowing whether the risk exists.

Given that some NHS staff, especially junior doctors, often move from one area to another quite frequently during training, there will need to be some very obvious warnings in those areas that are not yet connected.