The £11.4 billion National Programme for IT in the NHS (NPfIT), the world’s largest civilian information technology project, will soon either be scrapped or be subjected to a fundamental overhaul, it is understood.

The powerful Commons Public Accounts Committee has published a damning report into the programme’s failures, heavily blaming management by the Department of Health alongside delayed or expensive work from contractors BT and CSC.

The work by CSC was so disappointing, it said, that ministers needed to reconsider whether the US outsourcer was “fit” to bid for any future government work.

Nevertheless, the Department of Health has controversially argued that it would face a difficult and costly legal fight with contractors if it cancelled the programme, and that these costs would exceed the money the suppliers would have been paid to do the work.

The failed programme is now being assessed by the Cabinet Office Major Projects Authority, which will shortly deliver a verdict. That conclusion, combined with the PAC report, will inform prime minister David Cameron’s decision as to whether to scrap NPfIT.

At, we bring you the latest news on NHS IT:

3 August 2011 - NHS must consider scrapping National Programme for IT – MPs
The Department of Health must “urgently review” whether or not to scrap the remainder of the NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT), according to the dire verdict of a report by the Public Accounts Committee.

CSC may not be fit for government work, ministers warned
The PAC has delivered a stinging rebuke to CSC, advising the government to give “serious consideration” to whether the IT supplier is “fit” to tender for other public sector work. In nine years under a £3.1 billion contract, CSC has delivered systems to only three acute hospitals, and has missed numerous deadlines. It was nevertheless awarded a £200 million payment in May.

BT slammed over NHS NPfIT 'value for money' claim
BT has been heavily criticised for signing a contract that cut only a fraction of NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT) costs in London in return for half as many large system deployments. In March 2010, BT’s £1.02 billion contract for patient record systems in London was cut by seven percent to £948 million, under the programme.

The Tony Collins blog: What difference will today's report on NPfIT make?
Today's report by the Public Accounts Committee on the NPfIT detailed care records systems is likely to add negotiating strength to interim Health CIO Katie Davis and the Cabinet Office in their talks over the future of CSC's £3bn worth of NPfIT local service provider contracts.

18 July - NHS £200m payment to CSC angers Public Accounts Committee

22 June - NHS chief information officer Christine Connelly in dramatic resignation

31 May - NHS urged to 'turn off life support' for £3bn CSC contract

26 May - BMA: Electronic record plans threaten privacy and doctor-patient relationship

25 May - Latest NHS-CSC contract proposal doubles cost of deployments

BT charging small NHS hospitals '£8m for disaster recovery'

24 May - NHS: Cancelling CSC's £3.1bn health IT contract could cost more than continuation

23 May - BMA says clinicians and patients must direct NHS IT

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