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NHS Misspent Public Money On BT Systems, Committee Says

The UK Public Accounts Committee has severely criticised the Department of Health and telcoms firm BT for a contract that cut only a fraction of the cost for the NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT), but reduced the number of systems to be delivered by BT by half.

Back in March 2010, a £1.02 billion contract that was awarded to BT for setting up a patient records system in London was reduced to £948 million.

However, in exchange for the small drop in costs, the contract then required BT to install patient record systems in only 15 hospitals, less than half of the 31 hospitals that were supposed to receive the systems originally.

Also, under the amended contract, 1,243 GP practices will not now be receiving the new system, nor will the London Ambulance service.

“There has been a substantial reduction in how many NHS bodies will receive new systems but the department failed to secure a comparable reduction in costs. This casts the department’s negotiating capability in a very poor light,” the PAC committee said.

BT was slammed by PAC chairwoman Margaret Hodge when it claimed that the contract had delivered value for money for the Department of Health. “How on earth can you think that is value for money?” she questioned.