NHS IT to be scaled back7th December 2009
The government has revealed it intends to cut back on the £12 billion NHS IT system in a move which the Conservatives have called "a massive U-turn".
Chancellor Alistair Darling told the BBC that he wanted to reduce Britain's budget deficit by 50% by 2014.
He said that parts of the health service's IT system would be delayed in the pre-budget report because it was "not essential to the front line".
Mr Darling said the pre-budget report was not a "spending review", but explained: "I do think it is necessary for me to indicate areas where we are going to cut spending or where we're not going to spend as much as we were."
"For example, the NHS had a quite expensive IT system that, frankly, isn't essential to the front line. It's something I think we don't need to go ahead with just now."
He added that a complete view of cutbacks would only become clear next year in the government's full spending review, which is due to be released after the next general election.
The Conservative Party said the move was a turnaround by the government and the IT programme had been a "disaster".
Labour's electronic patient record system is believed to have cost £12 billion to date and was due to be completed in 2010.
The system's aim was to connect 300,000 GPs with almost 300 hospitals and store patient records in a database.
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Title: NHS IT to be scaled back
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 13464
Date Added: 7th Dec 2009