DH should scrap e-records say MPs

Published on Wednesday, 03 August 2011 08:56
Posted by Scott Buckler

The Commons Public Accounts Committee publishes a report today which, on the basis of evidence from the Department of Health and its contractors BT and Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), examines the delivery of care records systems under the National Programme for IT in the NHS (August 3rd)

 

The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts, today said:

"The Department of Health is not going to achieve its original aim of a fully integrated care records system across the NHS. Trying to create a one-size-fits-all system in the NHS was a massive risk and has proven to be unworkable.

The Department has been unable to demonstrate what benefits have been delivered from the £2.7 billion spent on the project so far.

It should now urgently review whether it is worth continuing with the remaining elements of the care records system. The £4.3 billion which the Department expects to spend might be better used to buy systems that are proven to work, that are good value for money and which deliver demonstrable benefits to the NHS.

The substantial reduction in the number of NHS bodies in London receiving new systems from BT has not been matched by a commensurate cut in fees. This casts the Department's negotiating abilities in a very poor light.

We consider it essential that the government's Major Projects Authority now closely scrutinizes the Department’s continuing negotiations with CSC, which has so far delivered very few of the systems it was contracted to supply. We are concerned that CSC should not be rewarded for its failure with an effective monopoly in the provision of care records systems in the North, Eastern and Midlands cluster, since this could leave many Trusts with little choice but to continue with outdated interim systems that could be very expensive to maintain and to upgrade.

We are surprised that, after our hearing, in a Memorandum to us of 7 June 2011 which specifically mentioned advance payments, the Department made no mention of a £200 million advance payment to CSC in April 2011. This is unacceptable.

It is unclear to us how the wider health reforms and NHS restructuring will affect the future management and governance of the care records system. The NHS trusts who will take on the risks have no contractual relationship with existing suppliers and no information about potential future costs."


Margaret Hodge was speaking as the Committee published its 45th Report of this Session which, on the basis of evidence from the Department of Health and its contractors BT and Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), examined the delivery of care records systems under the National Programme for IT in the NHS

Source: PAC

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