BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, the UK Council of Health Informatics Professions (UKCHIP) and the Institute of Health Records and Information Management (IHRIM) are working collaboratively to create a new federation for the Informatics profession. The three autonomous bodies will work closely together in a federation to ensure that UK health informatics is recognised as a valued profession.
Justin Whatling, Chair of BCS Health, part of the Chartered Institute for IT, explains: “This is a very exciting moment for health informatics. Today technology has an immense and profound impact on the health and wellbeing of people. Therefore it’s time for the profession to mature to meet the increasing demand on our skills and capability. We want health to be an attractive place for informatics professionals from other sectors to come and work, and we want to provide a clear career path and professional development opportunities to retain those already working in health. The federation will help us to achieve this.”
The initiative comes as the NHS is under increasing pressure to find and implement new models of health and social care that will provide services closer to people’s homes. This requires health professionals to share accurate information securely and confidentially. In addition, the Caldicott 2 Review has introduced a Duty of Care to Share health information. Both of these things have happened at a time when public trust in the NHS’ ability to handle personal health information has taken a hit.
The federation will be open to all other informatics professional bodies, the private sector, the home countries and lay representation. It will provide leadership of the overall profession with a single professional register and point of entry for professionals, oversee an agreed regulatory framework with a common code of ethical practice and coordinate access to resources providing a unified set of capabilities for all professional areas of practice.
Gwyn Thomas, Chair of UKCHIP adds: “To be successful we have to now bring informatics professionalism to the mainstream. For any profession to be credible, it needs to be independent, inclusive and self-sustaining; founded on a strong set of values constructed from codes of conduct and ethics, professional standards, voluntary registration, accreditation and regulation. This initiative is very much in line with the approach to partnership working that UKCHIP announced with NHS England in 2013. Our aim through this federation is to promote the values of professionalism in informatics to help to maintain public trust in the NHS’ ability to handle personal health and care information securely and confidentially.”
Isabel Chevis, Chief Executive of IHRIM says: “Together, UKCHIP, BCS and IHRIM, all consider that it is time that we matured as a profession and set about building ourselves a stronger platform so that we can speak with a louder collective voice that will be heard and heeded. To do this, we need to know what health informatics professionals want and think; this is the beginning of our consultation period where we are very much looking for feedback from across the entire informatics profession beginning at BCS’ health computing conference HC2014.”
The federation will launch a governance board which will run in shadow format from April this year. There will be a number of vacant seats on the board for current and future NHS informatics professional leaders. Deciding how these will be filled will be done through a wide consultation across the NHS over the next six months to agree strong value propositions for patients, public, employers and for existing and potential members.
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Lynda Feeley MCIPR
Head of Press & PR
BCS The Chartered Institute for IT
About BCS: Our mission as BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, is to enable the information society. We promote wider social and economic progress through the advancement of information technology science and practice. We bring together industry, academics, practitioners and government to share knowledge, promote new thinking, inform the design of new curricula, shape public policy and inform the public. Our vision is to be a world-class organisation for IT. Our 75,000 strong membership includes practitioners, businesses, academics and students in the UK and internationally. We deliver a range of professional development tools for practitioners and employees. A leading IT qualification body, we offer a range of widely recognised qualifications.
Mik Horswell, Director of Communications, UKCHIP
The UK Council for Health Informatics Professions is the voluntary regulation and registration body for Health and Social Care Informatics in the United Kingdom. We maintain it is essential that those working in the profession should meet defined standards of conduct and competence to ensure their work is safe, ethical, effective, efficient and addresses the needs of modern health and social care.
Isabel Chevis FHRIM, Chief Executive, Institute of Health Records & Information Management
The Institute of Health Records and Information Management (IHRIM) is the professional organisation for people working in health informatics, be it health records, clinical coding, or information governance. IHRIM is primarily an educational body and examinations at various levels are carried out. Our aim is to raise the profile of the importance of having trained health informatics staff in the NHS, something required by the Information Governance Tookit.
IHRIM is the only professional organisation offering comprehensive qualifications for health records and health information professionals from junior to senior levels. An IHRIM qualification offers a competitive edge with employers, potential employers, colleagues and peers. IHRIM qualifications are recognised as the benchmark of professional excellence.
IHRIM has existed in one form or another since 1948 and has continuously provided members with up-to-date information on legislation, best practice and current affairs relating to health informatics.
The IHRIM web site (www.ihrim.co.uk) is kept up to date and articles of interest on topical issues are made available to members. Non-members can access the site to view the syllabi for examinations and details of past papers.