Conservative MP Richard Bacon, an established member of the Public Accounts Committee, says of today's NAO report on NPfIT care records systems :
"It is perfectly clear that throwing more money at the problem will not work. This turkey will never fly and it is time the Department of Health faced reality and channelled the remaining funds into something useful that will actually benefit patients.
"The largest civilian I.T. project in the world has failed."
Today's National Audit Office report finds that the central aim of the NPfIT, to create a detailed electronic care record for every NHS patient in England, will not be achieved.
Bacon, who triggered the NAO inquiry, said: The NAO is clear that the £2.7bn already spent on care records systems is not value for money."
He added: “This has been a sorry saga. Many hospitals have been put under pressure to buy immature and incomplete software systems that they never wanted in the first place, simply to spare the blushes of Connecting for Health, which has become increasingly reliant on sophistry to give the impression that the Programme remains on track.
"If the National Programme for I.T. in the NHS had been created by one of this country's enemies in order to waste as much UK taxpayers’ money as possible whilst infuriating doctors, nurses and hospital managers, then it could hardly have done a better job. The sad truth is that, far from accelerating the pace of technological change in the NHS, this project has actually held it back”.
Bacon said that NHS Connecting for Health has failed to achieve its central purpose and it should be closed down. The Local Service Provider contract with CSC should be terminated.
"NHS Trusts must be set free to choose the systems that meet the needs of patients and medical professionals. They should have the power to source products locally that suit their needs, subject only to common standards."
But the NPfIT minister Simon Burns who, like Bacon, was on BBC R4's "Today", declined to say the NHS IT scheme should be scrapped. He criticised Labour's setting up of a centralised NHS IT programme - but finished his interview with Today's James Naughtie by praising what BT and the NPfIT achieved at the Royal Free Hampstead after its "chaotic" introduction of the Cerner Millennium system.
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