Monday, 10 August 2009

NHS IT under Conservative Government - Update

(By Richard Holway 5.00pm Monday 10th Aug 09) In our report this morning - NHS IT under a Conservative Government - we pointed out (yet again!) that cancelling the current NHS IT project would trigger huge compensation payments. Shadow Health Minister Stephen O'Brien admitted as much today. He said cancellation would be "subject to any applicable constraints" - which may be considerable. He acknowledged that renegotiating the contracts was unlikely to be cost free, but claimed the Tory approach would still produce savings.

But I'm not quite sure how, as cancellation could cost hundreds of millions - if not over a billion. Given that they are not promising anything extra to fund replacement systems at a local level, it could leave the Tories - and the local trusts - somewhere between a rock and a hard place.
On top of that, even the Conservatives admit that many bits, like Picture Archiving (I made use of this today - very impressive!) and Choose and Book, are working very well and have become an important part of how we use the NHS.
The Guardian also reports that the much trailed use of Google to hold personal copies of our health records, hardly featured in the announcement today - Tory expert does not share enthusism for Google Government. This was because "Google did not respond to the review group's request for evidence". Hardly a great start!

We are where we are. We need a viable plan to make the very best of the resources already expended. Otherwise we run a real risk of having spent billions with nothing to show for any of it.

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