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Sunday 23rd October 2016

Risk fears for NHS computerisation

28th June 2006

04032006_LaptopStethoscope1.jpgEngland's NHS IT upgrade does pose clinical risks, but the system will "dramatically" cut the dangers of wrong prescriptions, MPs have been told.

An email leaked to the Observer newspaper suggested managers were worried that some patients were not being entered in the new database.

But Sir Muir Gray, one of the project's directors, told a committee of MPs there were risks with any IT scheme. He said the benefits of the scheme would reduce other dangers.

He was giving evidence to the Commons public accounts committee, which is investigating the Connecting for Health IT project.

Under the plans, 30,000 GPs in England will be linked up to nearly 300 hospitals by 2014.

It involves an online booking system, Choose and Book, a centralised medical records system for 50m patients, e-prescriptions and fast computer network links between NHS organisations.

It is said to be the most ambitious computer project in the world and represents the largest single investment in IT in the UK.

But The Observer reported concerns among doctors.

It said one of the project's implementation managers in the West Midlands acknowledged in an email in February that the system had failed to record patients' details on a new database.

The National Audit Office (NAO) last week said parts of the projects were running behind schedule.

NAO chief Sir John Bourn told the MPs he thought the system was likely to be value for money, unlike many government IT projects.

And he thought it would be delivered on time if the NHS accepted his recommendations.


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