UK sharpens axes for centralised IT in NHS

The government has announced a change of direction for IT in the health service following a Department of Health review.
It has decided that after reviewing the National Programme for IT (NPfIT) a centralised approach to computer systems is no longer needed. Ministers have gone back to the 80s and decided that a “a more locally-led plural system of procurement should operate, whilst continuing with national applications already procured.”

Health minister Simon Burns told Computer World UK: “Improving IT is essential to delivering a patient-centred NHS. But the nationally imposed system is neither necessary nor appropriate to deliver this.

“We will allow hospitals to use and develop the IT they already have and add to their environment either by integrating systems purchased through the existing national contracts or elsewhere.

And of course he banged on about savings that this “new” approach would save – £700 million. We dread to think how much all the blunders trying to put the system in place have cost.

The NHS is promised a modular, standards with a ‘connect all’ approach, rather than ‘replace all’.

It’s going to keep the National Programme for IT which allows people to book appointments if they’re lucky and an electronic prescription service.

Ministers have said a separate review of the Summary Care Record is underway, looking at which content the summary electronic record should hold and make available for sharing across the health system.