Major health trust threatens to leave £12.4bn NHS IT programme

The Royal Berkshire NHS Trust is considering leaving the £12.4 billion National Programme for IT to choose its own patient record systems.

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The Royal Berkshire NHS Trust is considering leaving the £12.4 billion National Programme for IT to choose its own patient record systems.

Chairman Colin MacLean said the trust was examining the option of leaving the programme, in the wake of the “worrying” development that southern region contractor Fujitsu was leaving the project.

The announcement could raise concerns that other trusts will follow suit. Last week, prominent IT industry figures urged the government to reconsider urgently whether its plan for a central database of patient records was viable.

In a statement to Computerworld UK, Professor Ann Sheen, chief executive at Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, would not confirm if a decision to go it alone had been made.

But she said: "We have as a Trust considered contingency plans, as we would for any other major project.

"We are working together with NHS Connecting for Health to take our plans forward."

Trust chairman Colin MacLean told a meeting of the organisations governors the day after Fujitsu left the programme, about his concerns, according to reports in local newspaper the Reading Evening Post.

“If we want to be a forward-looking trust we need a decent IT system. We have been waiting for this to happen for a while and so the board has already been looking at the options in case we needed to go somewhere else,” he was reported as saying.

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