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NHS IT could be four years late

16th May 2008

A new single NHS patient records system will not be in place before 2014 according to auditors.

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The project will be ready four years later than planned, though a National Audit Office (NAO) report has said that it remained on budget and that staff involved believed it would improve patient care.

The National Programme for IT in the NHS replaces many different computer systems across hospitals and GP practices with new compatible versions that will allow NHS staff anywhere in England to access a patient’s medical records, though technical challenges have led to delays at some trusts.

Head of the NAO Tim Burr said: “The challenge involved in delivering the National Programme for IT has proved to be far greater than envisaged at the start, with serious delays in delivering the new care records systems.

“Progress is being made, however, and financial savings and other benefits are beginning to emerge.?

Connecting for Health, which overseas the project, said it regretted the delays but the new system was on course to improve care and savings of £1.14billion.

The NAO report is due to be considered by the Commons Public Accounts Committee.
Chairman Edward Leigh warned that any further delays would damage public confidence and added: “The current timetables for the care records system to be fully deployed by 2014-15 had better be realistic.

“The Department of Health cannot afford further knocks to the programme’s reputation or our confidence in it.?

The British Medical Association, slipping deadlines had been frustrating for NHS staff.

 

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