Scrapping NHS IT could raise costs

The cost of terminating National Programme for IT contracts could be higher than letting them run to completion, the DoH has admitted.

A National Audit Office report last month warned that the £2.7bn spent on creating electronic care records for every patient - a key aim of the IT scheme - had not provided value for money.

Giving evidence at a heated meeting with MPs on the House of Commons public accounts committee last week, DoH chief information officer for health Christine Connelly said it would cost 'several million' pounds just to terminate a contract with supplier CSC.

But she said the total costs could be much higher because the supplier could then seek damages from the NHS and there would also be 'transition costs' to another system.

She said: 'The supplier may come and seek damages as a proportion of the balance sheet value, which may be several million pounds.

'If you ask me about the absolute maximum, we could be exposed to a higher cost than the cost to complete the contract as it stands today.'

MP Steve Barclay (Con, North East Cambridgeshire) said the National Programme for IT had negotiated itself into a 'very difficult position'.

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