In this paper we draw on the existing literature to highlight the gap between academic health-based applications of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and their everyday use within the UK National Health Service (NHS). We provide examples of the operational benefits accruing from using GIS in a range of health care applications whilst acknowledging the limited use of such technologies in strategic health tasks. The implications of recent policy changes for future projected use of such systems are discussed before presenting a research agenda for realising GIS potential within the NHS. The paper concludes by re-emphasising the importance of using GIS in strategic health planning contexts in the light of both recent health-care restructuring and new technological developments in the health service.
- Primary and secondary health care sectors