Frentic activity on NPfIT in the year to March 2010?

The Government has issued a wealth of statistics on the NPfIT which show increased activity and a rising number of installations.

It is probably no coincidence that the release of the statistics came on the same day the Government answered a Parliamentary question on the money spent on the NPfIT so far – about £6bn by the end of this financial year.

It was the former NPfIT minister Lord Warner who put down a well-informed question that triggered the release of the Government NPfIT statistics.

This was Lord Warner’s question and the answer from the Government’s NPfIT spokeswoman in the House of Lords, Baroness Thornton, courtesy of

To ask Her Majesty’s Government … what were in March 2007 and March 2009 and what are forecast to be in March 2010 the total number of front-line systems installed by the NHS National Programme for IT under the headings:

a) electronic prescription service
b) choose and book
c) general practitioner systems
d) Map of Medicine
e) GP2GP record transfer
f) Acute Hospital Trust Patient Administration Systems
g) Picture Archiving and Communications Systems
h) radiology systems
i) theatre systems
j) accident and emergency systems
k) community systems
l) child health systems
m) mental health trust patient administration systems
n) prior systems, and
o) other systems

and what is the estimated number of further systems under each heading required to complete the National Programme for IT after March 2010?

Baroness Thornton (Baronesses in Waiting, HM Household; Labour)

The information is in the following table.

March 2007 March 2009 March 2010 (l)
Electronic Prescription service (EPS) – GP 1,812 6,583 6,987
EPS – Pharmacy 2,790 8,836 9,247
Choose & Book 6,984 7,464 7,532
General Practitioner systems 591 904 1,122
Map of Medicine 149 273 331
GP2GP record transfer 613 4,958 5,209
Acute Hospital Trust Patient Administration Systems (2) 19 43 62
Picture Archiving and Communication systems (3) 258 304 304
Radiology systems (3) 44 71 71
Theatre systems 21 33 54
Accident and Emergency systems 16 37 42
Community systems 42 43 70
Child Health systems 44 64 113
Mental Health Trust Patient Administration systems (2) 18 25 26
Community Patient Administration Systems (2) 59 78 82
Prior systems n/a n/a n/a


(1) Forecast deployment information is accurate as at 31 December 2009, but is subject to change.

(2) Figures include deployments of the Lorenzo Care Management deployment unit/module.

(3) Figures are for the number of site installations within Trusts. The final deployments as part of the national programme took place prior to 31 March 2009.

Plans for the pace and scale of future deployments beyond 2009-10 are currently being reviewed in the light of announcements made in the Pre-budget Report, and of the evolving information technology needs of the National Health Service.


In 2007 MP Richard Bacon, a Conservative member of the Public Accounts Committee, warned the government against seeking to promote the NPfIT by issuing “Soviet tractor production statistics”.

Even before the NPfIT was conceived, the Department of Health issued press releases to promote the success of NHS IT-based schemes such as NHSnet and electronic booking of appointments by issuing statistics 

Bacon told the House of Commons in 2007: 

 I welcome my hon. Friend’s answer to [Andrew Miller], but I caution him against the hon. Gentleman’s “Soviet tractor production statistics” approach.

“After all, what matters is not the total number of deployments, but the total number of deployment of facilities of major importance such as patient administration systems for acute hospitals.”


NPfIT spend of more than £6bn by end of 2009/10 financial year – IT Projects blog

Are NPfIT systems costing too much? – Guardian (2007)

NPfIT Lorenzo – is the cost per user frightening? – IT Projects blog

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