The NHS is defending its IT restructuring programme after a survey found doctors in clinics were not well informed and had little enthusiasm for it.

The study, conducted by the research company Medix and released on Tuesday, was commissioned by several publications, including The Guardian and the Financial Times.

Medix has conducted six surveys since 2003 gauging health professionals' feelings about the IT programme.

The research company reported that 1,329 doctors responded. The survey noted among its findings that two years ago, 56 percent of GPs and 75 percent of other doctors were fairly enthusiastic about the Department of Health's National Programme for IT (NPfIT). Those figures, according to the latest survey, have dropped to 26 and 45 percent respectively.

Only 38 percent of GPs now agree that the IT programme is an important priority, down from 67 percent three years ago, the study said.

In a statement on its website, the NHS said Medix inevitably picked out the most negative items in its overview. The agency said it has been strengthening links with professional bodies through clinical advisory groups and attends conferences to increase communication on its initiatives.

The NHS said there is usually a "dip in confidence" in new IT programmes, but claimed confidence rises with familiarity. The agency noted parts of the survey were also positive, such as the view of 59 percent of general practitioners and 66 percent of hospital doctors that clinical care will be significantly improved by NPfIT.