Health minister to oversee NHS IT plan

The recent ministerial reshuffle has led to health minister John Hutton being given responsibility for overseeing the...

The recent ministerial reshuffle has led to health minister John Hutton being given responsibility for overseeing the government's £2.3bn NHS IT overhaul.

Government officials said the national programme for NHS IT fits in neatly with Hutton's existing ministerial responsibilities. A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said, "His existing portfolio already includes IT such as e-booking, so it makes sense that the NHS plan goes into that portfolio."

Hutton, MP for Barrow-in-Furness, has extensive knowledge of the health sector. He was appointed parliamentary under secretary of state for health and social care in October 1998 and became minister of state the following year.

Elected to Parliament in 1992, the former law lecturer served on the home affairs select committee between 1994 and 1997 and was also parliamentary private secretary to Margaret Beckett.

Hutton will work closely with NHS IT tsar Richard Granger to run the national programme, the largest technology project ever seen in the UK.

There had been speculation that newly appointed health minister Lord Warner would take over the NHS IT role. Instead, Warner is responsible for NHS performance ratings, quality and clinical governance.

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