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Volume 410: debated on Friday 19 September 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what targets have been set for the electronic transfer of radiology reports; what the baseline is for the target; in which document the target was published; and what progress has been made towards the target. [128913]

The Government's strategy document, "Building the Information Core—Implementing the NHS Plan" published in 2000 set the target of March 2003 for all radiology reports between hospital and general practitioners to be sent electronically. This target was based on the use of messaging technology. Work in this area has been superseded by the national programme for information technology in the national health service and the development of the integrated care records service (ICRS). Electronic transfer of radiology reports forms one element of phase 1 that will be implemented by December 2004.It was decided to suspend roll out of the message based technology for radiology reports as a more modern, reliable and cost effective set of technology options are available within the development of the online database system, for the ICRS. This will provide a more reliable arrangement with lower unit costs and increased flexibility for clinicians.