NHS IT Cuts To Save £700 Million

The UK government is to make cuts to the NHS IT upgrade that will result in savings of up to £700 million.

The previous Labour government had made plans to create a national computer infrastructure that would connect all NHS hospitals under the NHS IT program.

The NHS IT program was supposed to introduce high-tech facilities, such as the electronic booking of appointments, digital X-rays and electronic prescriptions, but no progress has yet been made in the $11 billion initiative.

The new coalition government has said that it will honour all the existing IT contracts and that the remaining parts, such as creating a fully computerised NHS, will be handled locally.

In a statement to BBC News, health minister Simon Burns said: “Improving IT is essential to delivering a patient-centred NHS. But the nationally imposed system is neither necessary nor appropriate to deliver this.”

"We will allow hospitals to use and develop the IT they already have and add to their environment either by integrating systems purchased through the existing national contracts or elsewhere.

"Moving IT systems closer to the front line will release £700m extra in savings. Every penny saved through productivity gains will be reinvested to improve patient care."