The head of the National Programme for IT (NPfIT), Richard Granger, has called for industry body Intellect to help communications between the NHS, the channel and vendors. Intellect established a Supplier Consultation Group (SCG) with the NPfIT in July last year.
The NPfIT will also hire a programme director to give more information to suppliers, and has retained consultancy firm Ovum Holway for liaison services.
"The channel is a complex environment, as is the NHS," said John Griffith, public-sector consultant at VAR cScape. "Problems are bound to come up, so I'm a great believer in organisations such as [Intellect] helping out."
According to John Higgins, director general at Intellect, the Federation of British Industry and the eHealth Association are also part of the SCG.
"The SCG is open to any trade body that wants its members to be on board with the NPfIT," said Higgins. "Two hundred of our 1,000 members have already registered an interest."
Every Local Service Provider appointed for the NPfIT is an Intellect member, and the body represents about 10 per cent of UK gross domestic product and 15 per cent of total UK trade.
According to the NPfIT, Intellect members already supply 75 per cent of the installed IT products and services in the NHS.
Anthony Miller, an analyst at Ovum Holway, said his firm won the contract to consult for the SCG in part because of its outspoken comments on the NPfIT.
"We have a good relationship with Granger and we are trusted to tell it as we see it," said Miller.
Additional reporting by Karl Flinders.
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