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Government should tell NHS hospitals to abandon National Programme for IT if problems persist

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The government should instruct NHS hospitals to start abandoning its National Programme for IT within six months unless systems begin working, according to an influential committee of MPs.

According to the House of Commons public accounts committee, the National Programme for IT is still running billions of pounds over budget and up to five years behind schedule.

Many aspects of the programme do not meet the expectations of clinical staff, said the committee’s chair, Edward Leigh MP.

In the report, The National Programme for IT in the NHS: Progress Since 2006, Mr Leigh said: ‘Trusts should not be expected to deploy care records systems that aren’t working properly. If there is no improvement to this situation within six months, then the Department should consider allowing Trusts to apply for funding for alternative systems.’

Key systems have suffered major delays, with the Lorenzo care records service only implemented in one PCT and no acute hospitals.

In the south of England there are question marks over the future of the project because of the decision by IT firm Fujitsu, which had the contract for the region, to walk away last year.

The National Programme for IT is expected to cost at least £12.7bn, including £3.6bn in local costs.

NHS organisations, with the exception of Foundation Trusts, must sign up to the scheme.

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