Labour to delay electronic patient record

Chancellor Alistair Darling is expected to scale back the NHS IT programme, including the electronic patient record, in Wednesday's pre-budget report.

Chancellor Alistair Darling: electronic patient record will be delayed (Photograph: HM Treasury)

He told the BBC yesterday that the electronic patient record system was ‘something we don't need to go ahead right now' as the government contemplates cuts to services.

Liberal Democrat shadow health secretary Norman Lamb said: ‘The whole programme has been disastrously flawed from the start. It has held back the development of IT at a local level, cost billions and is running years behind schedule. Labour has been in denial for years and this is a belated and partial recognition of the scale of their failure.

‘The truth is that the national programme should be abandoned in its entirety, subject to existing contractual obligations, and instead we should start building from the bottom.'

Shadow Conservative health secretary Andrew Lansley said: ‘After seven years Labour has finally acknowledged what we've said for years, that the procurement for NHS IT was costing billions and not delivering. The opportunity cost to the NHS also measures billions of pounds.

‘This is another government IT procurement disaster, it just shows you can't trust Labour on spending efficiency.'

But Dr Grant Ingrams, chairman of the GPC's IT subcommittee, said the system currently scheduled to come into effect would result in the NHS saving money.

‘It's an essential tool for clinicians, for doctors and other staff to be able to treat patients,' he said.

‘The NHS pays out a third of a billion pounds a year on mistakes; a lot of that could be put right if the IT was in place.'

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Just published

Kamila Hawthorne

GP crisis could force one in four practices to close, says RCGP

Unmanageable pressure could force more than a quarter of GP practices to close, polling...

COVID-19 vaccine in pregnancy

Vaccination in pregnancy cuts COVID-19 risk for mother and baby

Vaccination against COVID-19 during pregnancy reduces the risk of infection and hospitalisation...

Child using smartphone

NICE backs digital CBT games for children with anxiety or low mood

GPs could prescribe CBT-based digital games, videos and quizzes for children and...

GP surgery sign

GP pressure to continue as experts warn NHS backlog will remain through 2023

General practice faces continuing heavy pressure after experts warned that the record...

Close-up of a man loading a shotgun

BMA updates GP firearms guidance as digital marker goes live on EMIS

The BMA has updated its guidance for GPs on firearms licensing following the release...

Map pins

Severely underdoctored areas spread across nearly every NHS region

Severely underdoctored areas exist in nearly every NHS region across England, figures...