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NHS comes in for criticism over troubled IT system

30 May 2008

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Delays over contractual disputes, fears about patient confidentiality and computer glitches have led to major criticisms of the NHS IT system.

Now IT firm Fujitsu has cancelled its £896m contract in the latest setbacks to hit the Department of Health electronic health records programme.

Accenture, which was responsible for delivering the system to the north and north-east of England, quit key parts of the project in 2006.

And earlier this month, public spending watchdog the National Audit Office (NAO) said the system would not be introduced to every NHS trust in England until 2014–15 – four years later than planned.

The NAO outlined “serious delays” in applying new software and said the Government had underestimated the challenges involved.

The £12.7bn project is expected to link more than 30,000 GPs in England to nearly 300 hospitals. The government has insisted that the National Programme for IT could save the NHS £1.14bn by 2014.

But Simon Williams, director at independent IT consultancy DMW Group says: “Fujitsu’s exit from the NHS contract will not do the government’s reputation for IT project failure any good.

“The bottom line, of course, is that the UK taxpayer is footing the bill for the NHS’s mistake in selecting suppliers who struggled to deliver.”

Copyright © PA Business 2008


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