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Hospital IT director Anthony Brewer leading efficiency drive

Rhys Lewis | April 12, 2013
Few good things came out of the 2001 foot-and-mouth outbreak in the UK, but one positive by-product of the year-long crisis that decimated livestock and is estimated to have cost the economy £8 billion, is that it led Anthony Brewer taking the IT director's role at Kingston Hospital NHS Trust.

"I'm a great believer in learning lessons. When we went live with our NPfIT system I created a learned-lessons log to discuss issues with CIOs, CFOs and CEOs, and we've done it again since."

Brewer says he's fortunate to be backed by a supportive chief executive in Kate Grimes. "My chief executive's ears are already open before I start talking," he jokes. After several changes in his reporting line he currently reports to the trust's commercial director, but what matters most, he says, is that IT has a voice on the board when it needs it.

"During my time here I've reported to the CEO three times, the FD twice and the COO once. I don't think it matters so long as you have a voice on the board. You need the support of people who can see the opportunity but it's up to you to influence people. The board are very IT-aware - they want an app so they can use their tablets at meetings - and are aware of the human side of change management.

"I think we're on the cusp of huge opportunity. There are lots of opportunities for IT to enable cash-releasing savings or at least efficiency gains. But you can't keep reducing IT team numbers or you won't be able to do it. The way we're starting to do it is to cost in our own IT support. We can't deliver the same for less each year so unless you invest in the people as well as the technology, it's not going to work."

Anthony Brewer CV

2001-present: IT Director, Kingston Hospital NHS Trust

2000-2001: Veterinary Surveillance Strategy Development Manager, Defra

1997-1999: Springboard Change Programme Manager, VLA

 

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