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Department of health denies newspaper report

Lindsay Clark

The Department of Health has denied a Sunday tabloid story saying the £12.4 billion National Programme for IT is about to be shelved.

On Sunday, The News of the World reported that an "insider" said the programme "doesn't work and is never going to". Meanwhile hospitals had been secretly told to buy their own systems at their own cost, the paper said.

However, a spokesman for the Department of Health said, "This story is wrong. Hospitals have not been told to secretly buy their own systems.

"There are no plans to 'shelve' the National Programme for IT in the NHS and far from being a failure, the NHS would fail in the future to fully function without it."

The spokesman said that the NHS in England now had more than 19,000 broadband connections, around 42 patient appointments were electronically booked every ten seconds and 99 medical imagining installations, as a result of the programme.

"The NHS in England has led the world in building a reliable, pervasive infrastructure which allows structured messages related to appointments, prescriptions, demographics and shortly, Summary Care Records for safer and more effective out of hours care to be transmitted throughout the NHS," the department spokesman said. "To attack this programme in this way is to politicise something which is of benefit to NHS patients and essential to a modern health service."




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