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Leaked document highlights NHS IT flaws

The NHS would have been better off without its multi-billion pound IT upgrade, according to an internal document published over the weekend
Written by Dan Ilett, Contributor

The Government faced embarrassment on Monday after a leaked document claimed hospitals would be "better off" without a national IT upgrade.

The Observer reported on Sunday that it had seen an official NHS document sent to a Public Accounts Committee MP, who has confirmed the report's existence and damning analysis of the NHS National Programme for IT.

The document said: "The conclusion here is that the NHS would most likely have been better off without the national programme, in terms of what is likely to be delivered and when. The national programme has not advanced the NHS IT implementation trajectory at all; in fact, it has put it back from where it was going."

The report comes to light at a bad time for the NHS Connecting for Health (CfH) scheme, which last week saw massive systems failures in 80 hospitals.

The Observer claims the document was written and sent from the computer of David Kwo, who last year resigned from his post as the NHS CfH regional implementation director for London over contractual disagreements.

Richard Bacon, the Conservative MP who first saw the document, wrote on his Web site: "The last few months have seen a succession of disasters for the NHS National Programme for IT. The list of failures and delays grows ever longer. Two and a half years in, the programme is two years late.

"Now it seems that some of the most senior officials in the NHS know perfectly well that the programme will never work properly — indeed that many hospitals would now be better off if they had never taken part in the scheme in the first place.

"This scheme was the personal brainchild of the Prime Minister and he must now act at once to bring this failed experiment to a speedy end."

The NHS declined to comment on the leaked document but the CfH office issued a statement, which said: "NHS Connecting for Health is much needed, delivering computer systems and services that will ultimately improve the safety and efficiency of patient care.

"We believe we are making strong steps forward that will bring about benefits for patients and the NHS alike."

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