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Saturday 22nd October 2016

Tories plan online access to medical records

11th August 2009

The Conservatives want to give patients access to their medical histories on their home computers.


But to do that, they will have to pick apart the NHS IT project – the National Programme for IT – which is one of the biggest civil IT projects in the world.

Running four years late, the aim of the £12.7bn project is to electronically link all GPs and hospitals in England.

But it goes against the Conservative ethos of more local decision making.

They want to renegotiate current contracts and let primary care trusts and GPs run their own databases, a system the Conservatives think will be cheaper and more efficient.

However, having not been allowed to see the contracts that are in place at present, the Conservatives are unaware of penalties in making the changes and as a result, cannot cost their policy.

Parts of the system, such as the electronic delivery of x-rays, are already up and working, while more than 15 million hospital appointments have been made using the Choose and Book system.

As a former director of a FTSE 100 company, the Conservative minister Stephen O’Brien believes he can get a good deal from those IT firms that have signed contracts to deliver the current NHS plans.

But if the Conservatives win the next election the fate of his scheme to reshape the NHS's computers may well rest not on debates on the floor of the House of Commons, but on negotiations with IT firms in the privacy of a Department of Health office.


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