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NHS IT system facing significant cutbacks in bid to save money

7 December 2009

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Significant cuts to the multi-billion-pound NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT) are to be included in Chancellor Alistair Darling’s pre-budget report.

The budget for the programme – bedevilled by delays and heavily criticised by opposition parties – has spiralled to more than £12bn over the years.

The programme is intended to group medical records in a central computer database and link more than 30,000 GPs to nearly 300 hospitals.

It provides an online booking system, centralised medical records system, e-prescriptions and fast computer network links between NHS organisations.

Mr Darling (pictured) told the Andrew Marr Show on BBC1: “I do think it is necessary for me on Wednesday to indicate areas where we are going to cut spending or where we’re not going to spend as much as we were.

“You know, for example, the NHS had a quite expensive IT system that frankly isn’t essential to the frontline. It’s something that I think we don’t need to go ahead with just now.”

Copyright © Press Association 2009

NHS National Programme for IT