National newspapers report on the NHS's National Programme for IT

There is widespread coverage in national newspapers of the report of the Public Accounts Committee on the NHS’s National Programme for IT [NPfIT].

On the front page of The Daily Telegraph the headline is “Patients ‘will not benefit from £12bn IT project”. A longer piece inside the paper by Richard Bacon MP, a member of the Public Accounts Committee, is written using a light touch. Bacon says:

“If Connecting for Health [which runs the NPfIT] had been created by one of this country’s enemies with the specific task of wasting as much money as possible while causing maximum anger and resentment among doctors, nurses and hospital managers, it could hardly have done a better job. Having been given responsibility for the largest sum of money ever allocated to a health IT programme anywhere in the world, at least £12.4 billion, which incidentally dwarfs the entire NHS deficit, it has failed to deliver.”

This is one of the comments in the Daily Telegraph sparked by Bacon’s article:

“Here in Andalucia our regional government’s public health service has had a similar system installed and running for some years. One phone call arranges your appointment with your doctor and every health centre throughout the region has your entire medical history available should you require attention while away from home. The system is not without its problems but it makes the NHS look pretty sick.” Posted by GERALD ZABELL on April 17, 2007 8:15 AM

The Daily Mail’s “MPs urge Hewitt to axe £20bn computer” quotes the Lib Dem health spokesman Norman Lamb as saying: “The Government cannot continue to charge ahead with the system, blind to ever more stark warnings.” The government will of course.

And The Guardian has an article under the headline “MPs condemn £12bn upgrade of NHS computer network”.

The Times’s article is headlined: NHS computer upgrade ‘failing’.