A confidential Connecting for Health briefing paper for the prime minister has claimed that much of the NHS's £12.4bn National Programme for IT (NPfIT) is complete - although an integrated national care record system has yet to materialise, and software delivered under the scheme has been criticised by some trusts as not yet fit for purpose.
The paper, dated 19 February 2007, said, "Much of the programme is complete, with software delivered to time and budget," though, "some deployment is progressing more slowly than we would wish for and is dependent on legacy IT suppliers and NHS preparedness."
The paper was included in a Connecting for Health document presented to a health care technical standards conference in Canada.
It said, "Key challenges and risks to delivery are now not about the technology to support NPfIT but about attitudes and behaviours, which need to be the focus of senior management and ministerial attention as we move forward."
The paper's findings come despite a Public Accounts Committee report in April which found that significant clinical benefits were unlikely to be delivered by the end of the contracts in 2013/2014.
Connecting for Health, which runs the NPfIT, said, "We stand by the data contained within the presentation including the working calculations for the percentage completion data as provided as all this information has been independently verified."
The paper put the progress towards a life-long health record service at about 35%, although a national electronic health record system is still only at the trial stage.
It also said that "procurement processes had saved £4.5bn", but this figure has not been independently audited and represents a projection of savings based on existing installations.
During a debate in the House of Commons last week, MP Richard Bacon praised Accenture for its honesty in admitting its losses of hundreds of millions of dollars.
He said that, in his view, local service providers BT, CSC and Fujitsu had "not done anything to try to account for the losses that must have been made". These losses could run into hundreds of millions of pounds, Bacon believed.
"The government ought to be aware of that now, as it has consequences for the behaviour of local service providers in trying to claw back money because they did not make any on the contracts," he said.
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