Tories back call for audit of IT plan

Of 20 named trusts in London which are due to go live with new systems in the next year, 19 are at red status, which indicates...

Of 20 named trusts in London which are due to go live with new systems in the next year, 19 are at red status, which indicates that a key milestone is threatened, one is at amber and one at green.

The go-live dates are from the Deployment Master Plan approved by the NPfIT on 20 December 2004.

Documents released to Computer Weekly under the Freedom of Information Act by trusts around the country highlight other concerns, few of which are reflected in the national programme's announcements and literature.

The latest published minutes of its programme board from November 2004 has no mention of any serious concerns, although it mentions "potential pressures on NPfIT finances". The NPfIT's published operational information refers to the availability of the NPfIT's data "spine" which is put at nearly 99% for January 2005.

Jean Roberts, lead for the policy taskforce of the Health Informatics Forum of the British Computer Society, warned that any investigation would be of little value unless action is taken on its findings. "The recent NAO Report on Choose and Book contained some strong observations about which action is not yet evident," she said.

Roberts said early adopters of new systems are being "deluged by data" but the "rest of the NHS and those working with it are still in relative darkness".

With progress in some implementations and backward shifts in others, the BCS forum believes it is "imperative that more transparency is created", especially as this year the NPfIT is devoting large resources to a national campaign to raise awareness of the programme.

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