National programme for information technology

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.328.7449.1145 (Published 13 May 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:1145
  1. Michael Humber, health informatics manager (mhumber@bmjgroup.com)
  1. BMJ Knowledge, BMJ Publishing Group, London WC1H 9JR

    Is sorely needed and must succeed—but is off to a shaky start

    With the national programme for information technology, the NHS in England has set itself an enormous task. A programme of this size has never been attempted in the United Kingdom and, in many respects, elsewhere in the world. But what is the national programme, why is it so important to the government and to the viability of the NHS, and is it on course to succeed?

    The national programme means an investment of £6.2bn (€9.2bn, $11.1bn) over a 10 year programme of change. It promises to modernise information and communications technology across the NHS and provide the tools to help streamline the healthcare services. It will create a basic health record for all 50 million patients, enabling quick and easy access to the essential information that anyone making health decisions about a patient needs to know. It will connect more than 30 000 general practitioners and 270 acute, community, and mental health trusts in a secure system. It promises to “improve the convenience and quality of care” by having the right information in the right place at the right time. It will sustain …

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