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Budget cuts bring London NHS IT changes

The 2010 Budget has led to the scrapping of some ambulance software and changes to local patient record plans, according to the chief executive of NHS London
Written by Tom Espiner, Contributor on

NHS IT in London will not achieve its original aims following government health budget cuts, according to NHS London chief executive Ruth Carnall.

Savings of £100m on the NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT), specified in the 2010 Budget, mean that the London Programme for IT (LPfIT) has had to be revised, Carnall said in a letter to London NHS chiefs last week.

"The £100m reduction in the available funding, inevitably, means a reduction in the scope of [LPfIT]," said Carnall. "It will no longer be possible to provide the comprehensive solution that was anticipated in 2003."

The chief executive said provisions for primary care software had been removed from the London budget and would instead be provided through the national GP Systems of Choice programme. Similarly, national Summary Care Records will be used to share patient information, in place of a dedicated London system. Some ambulance software has had to be cut, said Carnall.

While the contract the NHS has with BT to deliver LPfIT has been revised, care records software, which has already been deployed by London hospitals including RiO and Cerner software, will continue to be used, Carnall said.

The Conservatives announced last week that, should they win power at the general election in May, they would set about making £12bn public spending cuts. Part of those cuts would include revising public sector IT projects, including NPfIT.

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