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NHS IT Plans Could Be "Dramatically Overhauled" By November 2009

It seems that the National Health Service (NHS) project to digitise its medical records in UK may experience a set back if there is a change in the government according reports authored by analyst firm Ovum.

A recent report from Ovum builds upon comments made by Tory leader David Cameron who had expressed that if he came into power he would actively consider scrapping the NHS electronic patient record (EPR) system as it would lead to huge savings for the government.

If that was not all for the beleaguered program which is already four years behind its original schedule, Christine Connelly the director general of informatics and Department of Health has sounded a grim warning to suppliers of its project to shape up.

In a statement expressing her views on the current state of affairs Christine mentioned "If we don't see significant progress by the end of November 2009, then we will move to a new plan for delivering informatics to healthcare."

However critics are arguing against imposition of new deadlines for suppliers of the EPR project, namely BT and CSC, as these may lead to a situation where systems are implemented before being properly tested.

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Our Comments

The NHS IT project is one of the biggest civilian IT projects ever at an estimated cost of nearly £13 billion. But it has attracted so much bad publicity that the Department of Health's information chief is now considering changing all over again. The big losers ultimately, will be the patients, many of whom have been affected already by the long struggle to get the pieces of the puzzle together.

Related Links

NHS IT suppliers 'have until November to deliver' (opens in new tab)

(The Guardian)

Government may abandon NHS IT plans in November (opens in new tab)

(Nursing Times)

NHS e-records given six-month deadline (opens in new tab)

(Silion)

Could Change In Government Threaten NHS IT? (opens in new tab)

(IT Pro UK)

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.