Review of NPfIT future starts next week

A "cold hard look" at the future of the National Programme for IT will start next week, says Mark Davies of the National Audit Office.Davies and his colleagues at the NAO produced today's report "The National Programme for IT in the NHS: an...

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A "cold hard look" at the future of the National Programme for IT will start next week, says Mark Davies of the National Audit Office.

Davies and his colleagues at the NAO produced today's report "The National Programme for IT in the NHS: an update on the delivery of detailed care records systems". 

He says that the Cabinet Office's Major Projects Authority will start a review next week of the NPfIT which will take the programme out of the Department of Health mindset and have a cold, hard look at it from a wider government perspective. 

The Authority, he says, will ask:

- Does the NPfIT still make sense? 

- If it doesn’t what are we going to do? 

- If it does, how do we get best value from suppliers?

Separately, there will be a hearing on the NAO's NPfIT report by the Public Accounts Committee. It will also question whether the NPfIT should be continued.  

Former Labour minister Margaret Hodge, Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, says of today's NAO report: 

"Despite a massive increase in cost to the taxpayer -  expected total spending now stands at £11.4 billion - the Programme has delivered less than promised and to far too few organisations across the NHS.

"Currently running at least five years’ late, the Programme’s scope has time after time been scaled back and a number of suppliers have been shed along the way. 

"It is sad to see the Department’s lofty ambitions continue to be compromised, as the vision of joined-up healthcare gives way to a bunch of local systems which will need even more money spent on them to allow them to talk to each other.

"It is deeply worrying to hear that the NAO ”has no grounds for confidence” that the remaining planned spending of £4.3 billion on care records systems will provide value for money. We will want to question officials on whether the Programme should be stopped, even at this late stage.

"The report also raises questions as to who will be responsible and accountable for this huge Programme and this massive expenditure after NHS reorganisation. This issue must be addressed urgently. We cannot and will not sit back and allow more public money to be spent with ever diminishing returns." 

I have summarised the NAO's NPfIT report here.  



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