UK government scraps NHS IT project

A multi-billion pound NHS IT programme will be scrapped earlier than planned, but the government is hoping to rescue a bit of the infrastructure.

So far more than £6.4 billion has been wasted on the National Programme for IT. However the scheme has been hit by delays and difficulties.

It would have been the biggest civilian IT project in the world, but a report by the Commons Public Accounts Committee said parts of the ambitious scheme, designed to create electronic patient records for use across the NHS in England, were as reliable as an Austin Metro.

The government had announced that the project would be scrapped but it was hoped that something might come from it.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Health told AP that an announcement would be made later in the autumn about what might replace the existing project.

The cunning plan is to allow local health trusts to choose their own IT systems, and then to ensure that those systems are linked nationally.

In other words instead of killing off all the computers, you just connect all the existing ones in one network.

More than two thirds of the project has been spent on infrastructure so we guess that some of the wires are still there.

A joint committee between the Cabinet Office and Department of Health will deal with commercial arrangements including agreements with existing contractors and future ones that might be made.