Swingeing cuts to National Programme for IT
The coalition government has announced £700m of cuts to the National Programme for IT (NPfIT) - the multibillion pound revamp of NHS IT started by the Labour government back in 2002.
£200m of the cuts will come from scaling back a contract to deliver new patient administration systems (PASes) under the NPfIT.
The NHS had originally chosen two suppliers, BT and CSC, to install the new patient administration systems (PAS) at hospitals across England. However, the rollout of the systems fell behind schedule, missing its original deadline by four years.
CSC, which is installing the Lorenzo PAS in the north, Midlands and east of England, has seen the £200m cut to its contract confirmed today.
Health minister Simon Burns yesterday told the House of Commons that the Department of Health will now give hospital trusts the power to choose their own systems. Health trusts will now no longer be forced to rely on BT or CSC to install new PASes, but will instead be able to choose from a range of different suppliers to either upgrade existing systems or install new systems of their own choosing, providing the systems meet certain standards around interoperability and security.
Speaking in the House today Burns said that giving local health trusts more choice over the systems they use will help end the delays and uncertainty for hospitals waiting for a new PAS under the NPfIT.
"This approach will... address the delays, particularly in the acute [hospital] sector, that resulted from the national programme's previous focus on complete system replacement," he said.
"NHS services will be the customers of a more plural IT supplier base, embodying the core assumption of connecting all systems together rather than replacing all systems," Burns added.
According to Burns, different hospitals and health trusts will still be able to...