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Officials meet to decide the fate of the NHS IT programme

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b5040 (Published 26 November 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b5040
  1. Michael Cross
  1. 1London

    On the eve of decisions on the future of the beleaguered and controversial NHS IT programme, Michael Cross talks to Christine Connelly, the woman charged with delivering the strategy

    Six years after launching the world’s largest civilian information technology programme, senior officials of the NHS in England meet next week to decide the fate of its most distinctive and controversial component. The meeting, on 1 December, will decide whether contractors have shown “significant progress” this year in the long delayed implementation of electronic patient record systems in acute hospitals.

    If the verdict is negative, the NHS management board is expected to announce a wholesale renegotiation of a series of billion pound contracts with IT services firms. The Conservative party has already called for the contracts to be halted, and ministers are anxious to neutralise the £13bn (€14.4bn; $21.7bn) National programme for IT as a source of political embarrassment before the general election campaign gets under way.

    In an interview with the BMJ, Christine Connelly, chief information officer for health, said she expected a decision on the future of the acute hospitals’ programme to be made in December. “We’re planning different …

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