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E-records 'unworkable'

3rd August 2011

MPs have said the government should think about scrapping the central part of the health service's £7 billion e-records programme in England.

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The Public Accounts Committee said growing difficulties with the electronic records system were causing the programme to become "unworkable".

The PAC said the scheme - which was designed in order to cut down the use of paper records - had been plagued by setbacks and timing problems.

The group stated that the remainder of the project's budget could be used to construct a superior system.

The electronic records project makes up part of the health service's £11.4 billion IT programme. 

It was started in 2002 and was aimed at overhauling the way the NHS used technology. The e-records project was meant to ensure every patient had an electronic file that could be accessed while they were treated by the NHS.

However the project is behind schedule and the PAC said it had been a "worthwhile aim, but one that has proved beyond the capacity" of government to provide.

Parts of the NHS, including all GPs and most hospitals in London, have opted out of the system.

Committee chairman Margaret Hodge said: "Trying to create a one-size-fits-all system in the NHS was a massive risk and has proven to be unworkable.

"It should now urgently review whether it is worth continuing with the remaining elements of the care records system." 

 

 

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