Department of Health: the National Programme for IT in the NHS, twentieth report of session 2006-07, report, together with formal minutes, oral and written evidence

The National Programme for IT in the NHS ("the Programme") was set up to utilise information technology to help provide high quality services to patients, using centrally managed procurement to provide impetus to the uptake of IT and to secure economies of scale. Expenditure on the Programme is expected to be £12.4 billion over ten years to 2013-14. Following a National Audit Office report (HC 1173, session 2005-06, ISBN 9780102938289), the Committee examined progress made by the Department of Health in implementing the Programme, particularly the current status of the shared electronic patient clinical record; the costs of the Programme; the local management and implementation of the systems within the NHS; the extent to which clinicians were involved in developing the systems; the management of suppliers; and patient confidentiality. Four overall conclusions are drawn: (1) the piloting and deployment of the shared electronic patient clinical record is already running two years behind schedule and no firm implementation date exists; (2) the suppliers to the Programme are clearly struggling to deliver (one of the largest, Accenture, has now withdrawn), and the Department is unlikely to complete the Programme anywhere near its original schedule; (3) the Department has much still to do to win hearts and minds in the NHS, especially among clinicians, and needs to show that it can deliver on its promises, supply solutions that are fit for purpose, learn from its mistakes, and respond constructively to feedback from users in the NHS; (4) there is still much uncertainty about the costs of the Programme for the local NHS and the value of the benefits it should achieve.

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