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NHS IT project pulled up by hiatus hernia

BT is 'taking stock'

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The £12.7bn National Programme for IT which aims to transform health service technology and provide electronic records for all patients is not dead in the water and delays are inevitable in such a large project.

The government was forced into declaring the project is not dead just having a liedown after a story on the frontpage of the FT today which declared the project had ground to a halt.

The DoH accepts there are problems, but insisted today: "Many elements of the National Programme for IT are advancing and some are complete. The Programme is one of the largest IT change programmes in the world and it is inevitable that such transformation will present challenges."

The NPfIT lost a primary supplier when Fujitsu quit the project in May. Leadership of the scheme is divided between Christine Connelly, CIO for Health and running the NHS's overall IT strategy and Martin Bellamy responsible for service delivery.

A BT spokesman told the Register: "We are taking stock of progress with the acute hospitals but are making good progress elsewhere."

The DoH said: "We support NHS London, London Programme for IT and BT in their decision to take stock of current implementations at London trusts. We agree that learning from those experiences is an important next step in successfully introducing information systems to support patient care across acute settings."

The National Audit Office reported in May that the project was four years late and over budget. Despite this the NAO said the project still "appeared feasible"

The Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead is still suffering glitches since the records system went live in June. ®

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