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Government may abandon NHS IT plans in November

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The government has announced it may abandon its current plans for the introduction of a national NHS computer system if significant progress has been made by November.

Currently the programme is running at least four years late and at a cost of more than £12.4bn.

The Department of Health’s director general for informatics, Christine Connelly, outlined a number of proposals today aimed at fast-tracking the introduction of the scheme.

In the south of England, other IT suppliers will be able to bid alongside current local service providers BT and CSC using the existing supply framework to deliver extra resources.

But Ms Connelly has admitted that implementing electronic information systems in the acute sector has proved ‘challenging’, following a report by the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee published in January.

If there has not been significant improvement by November, Ms Connelly said a new plan to deliver informatics to healthcare will be implemented.

She said: ‘We will be working closely with the NHS and our current suppliers to improve the pace of delivery. If we don’t see significant progress by the end of November 2009, then we will move to a new plan for delivering informatics to healthcare.’

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