NHS IT tsar Richard Granger is calling on the government to stump up an extra £2bn for the health service’s IT overhaul.
A report in the Financial Times at the weekend said that Granger has already been in talks with health secretary John Reid.
The National Programme for IT said, "IT expenditure in the NHS is scheduled to increase towards 4% of total expenditure over a five-year period.
"The NHS received a five-year funding envelope and it is anticipated that in years four and years five of that envelope, comparable funding to that allocated to the National Programme for IT in year three will be achieved."
Granger’s call for cash comes as the National Programme for NHS IT is poised to award the Local Service Provider contracts to implement the strategy in London and the North East.
Launched last year, the National Programme is the largest technology project seen in the UK so far, and comprises four main elements: online appointment booking, national IT infrastructure, Integrated Care Records Service and electronic prescriptions.
In October, Peter Gershon, chief executive of the Office of Government Commerce, described the NHS IT programme as "risky and ambitious". But Gershon told MPs on the Commons Public Accounts Committee that the initiative has sufficient safeguards in place to ensure that it does not repeat the mistakes of previous large-scale public sector IT projects.