£700m savings in NHS IT9th September 2010
Major savings have been announced in the budget of the national IT programme for the NHS in England.
The government has said savings of £700m will be made, cutting the overall budget of £12.7bn to £11.4bn.
This is in addition to £600m of savings already announced on the programme to create a national computer infrastructure for the health service.
The government has outlined cuts to include electronic booking of appointments, digital x-rays and electronic prescriptions but says all its existing contracts for parts of the IT programme will be honoured.
The cuts are in line with plans outlined by the Tory party when in opposition before this May’s general election, however, it acknowledges it is not in a position to re-draw contracts already negotiated by Labour.
Health minister Simon Burns said: "Improving IT is essential to delivering a patient-centred NHS. But the nationally imposed system is neither necessary nor appropriate to deliver this.
"We will allow hospitals to use and develop the IT they already have and add to their environment either by integrating systems purchased through the existing national contracts or elsewhere.
"Moving IT systems closer to the frontline will release £700m extra in savings. Every penny saved through productivity gains will be reinvested to improve patient care."
The IT programme has been beset by delays and teething issues.
Professor Iain Carpenter, co-director of the Royal College of Physicians' Health Informatics Unit, said more emphasis had to be placed on "making sure that the new systems accurately capture the dialogue between doctor and patient".
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Title: £700m savings in NHS IT
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 16021
Date Added: 9th Sep 2010