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Sunday 20th May 2018

IT upgrade costing too much

24th January 2007

04032006_LaptopStethoscope1.jpgThe £6.2bn NHS IT upgrade is costing the taxpayer far too much, according to experts.

The scheme, which has been mired by software problems and delays, is costing around four times the going rate, say leaders from the IT industry.

Heads of companies, including software group Ascribe, said NHS organisations would pay much less outside of the national programme. A former consultant to NPfIT said the NHS had failed to consolidate its buying power, and was paying more for layers of bureaucracy.

Three years into the 10-year plan, the programme is falling short of targets with the patient administration systems (PASs) to acute, primary care, community and mental health trusts. Critics say it has also failed to deliver on intended clinical functions.

Already a number of organisations have broken away from the national programme in favour of their own supplier. Nationally a database of alternative suppliers is being put together, fueling rumours of plans to devolve power to local trusts.

Despite this the NHS has said its projected savings will still be delivered, claiming that a national programme would save around £3.6bn compared to upgrading GP and hospital trusts piecemeal.

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