Statement by Health Minister, Lord Hunt, on report about NHS £12.4bn National Programme for IT

Health Minister Lord Hunt said: “This Public Accounts Committee Report is based on a NAO (National Audit Office) report that is now a year out of date.

“Since then substantial progress has been made and the NAO recommendations have already been acted on. Costs of the programme have not escalated.

“In fact, the NAO acknowledged that costs were under control and the strength of the contracts means that payment is not made until systems are delivered which protects the taxpayer.

“The NHS IT programme is already being used by clinicians and bringing benefits for patients with digital technology transforming diagnosis and treatment every day.

“Electronic prescriptions are now available and digital x-rays are increasingly in use across the country.

“The NHS IT programme will provide safer, faster and more efficient healthcare for patients, and we do not underestimate the challenges of delivering a system of this size and complexity.

“Working with the NHS and clinicians, we are on track to meet our broad targets and, as the NAO confirmed, well placed to deliver this exciting project. When completed it will connect more than 117,000 doctors, 397,500 nurses and 128,000 scientists and therapists – bringing benefits to 50 million patients.”