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NHS IT Programme

Volume 447: debated on Thursday 22 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the recently expressed views of the Chief Executive of Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust on the centralised and standardised approach of the NHS IT programme. (65985)

Sir Jonathan expressed views on a one size fits all, centralised information technology (IT) solution for the national health service. However, it has been demonstrated by independent analysis that the aggregated procurement has saved over £3.8 billion for the taxpayer over procurements by individual trusts. Moreover, the provision of a national information system architecture that makes patient information available at point of need will improve patient safety. In addition, it provides a common computer system interface which makes training easier and more economic across different trusts which should also improve accuracy and consistency in treatment. History suggests that the NHS does not have a good track record of procuring, developing or using IT at a local level. An accreditation programme has already enabled 46 local and previously incompatible systems to exchange data with and via national systems. A degree of local flexibility is important but good interoperability across the NHS is critical to patient care and this is what the national programme for IT will achieve.