New minister to oversee £12.7bn NHS IT programme

Mike O’ Brien MP, former minister for pension reform, will now take a post at the Department of Health overseeing the £12.7 billion National Programme for IT.

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Mike O’ Brien MP, former minister for pension reform, will now take a post at the Department of Health overseeing the £12.7 billion National Programme for IT.

New government minister to oversee £12.7bn NHS IT programmeAs the new minister of state for health services, O’Brien replaces Ben Bradshaw, who has moved to become culture secretary as part of prime minister Gordon Brown’s cabinet reshuffle.

O’ Brien faces a raft of challenges as he oversees Connecting for Health, the agency managing the highly troubled IT programme.

Last week, Computerworld UK revealed that some NHS managers had threatened to refuse treatment to patients who do not want electronic summary care records, according to doctors.

The news prompted outrage from the British Medical Association. But Connecting for Health said refusing treatment to patients who opted out was strictly against its instructions and ethics.

The programme is already four years late and has experienced some disastrous early rollouts.

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