With a damning National Audit Office report and angry parliamentary hearings into the performance of the NHS National Programme for IT, with contractors CSC and BT, it has become clear that the project's goal of instituting a single electronic health record for every patient in Britain is not going to be achieved, at least without some extraoridinary measures.
As the fallout from this news continues to shake Whitehall, and influential critics such as Conservative MP Richard Bacon argue for a tough look at the government's strategy for dealing with the potential damage, we round up the most important developments in the story. For everything you need to know about a scandal that could derail the ambitious plans for a technological transformation of the NHS, take a look at our timeline below.
David Cameron openly warned CSC in parliament that the government would consider cancelling all or part of the supplier’s £3 billion contract with the NHS, after it assessed forthcoming reviews.
Our correspondent, Tony Collins, welcomed Cameron's comments. "Congratulations to the PM David Cameron and Conservative MP Richard Bacon for halting an attempt by officials at NHS Connecting for Health to sign a new NHS deal with CSC before it has been considered by MPs and the Cabinet Office," he wrote.
CSC promised to radically overhaul its struggling multi-billion pound NHS IT implementations, if it is not removed from the programme. If it keeps its contract, the US-based outsourcer said that it will change its deployment method to roll out patient administration systems into smaller deployments of more standard and modular components.
Tony Collins reports again, with the news that senior civil servants at the Department of Health may dispute the Prime Minister's views over the IT programme's value. Collins refers to a conversation with Health CIO Christine Connelly, where she stated that "the money we have spent so far I believe has been value for money".
The NHS National Programme for IT, which is now budgeted at £11.4 billion, has no chance of delivering value for money and has failed on all of its crucial elements.
Health service chiefs appear before the Public Accounts Committee, and claim that cancelling CSC’s highly troubled £3.1 billion NHS deal could cost more than finishing in full the next five years of contracted work. The claim is questioned by MPs.
Small southern NHS trusts providing community and mental health services are each reportedly paying BT approximately £7.7 million for disaster recovery services and standard support, under the National Programme for IT. MPs state that this is well above market prices.
Cabinet Office officials blast attempts by the Department of Health to sign an “unattractive” multibillion pound renewal deal with troubled NHS IT provider CSC. A leaked memo, seen by Computerworld UK blogger and government IT expert Tony Collins, reveals the terms planned.
NHS plans for storing electronic patient records pose a huge threat to individuals’ privacy and could quickly erode public trust in the health service, according to the British Medical Association.