Norfolk MP renews call on NHS to scrap failed IT system

A Norfolk MP has renewed his call on the government to scrap a failed health service IT programme.

Richard Bacon, a member of the House of Commons public accounts committee, was speaking as a highly critical report was published today by the National Audit Office (NAO), which concluded that the central aim of the NHS's flagship IT programme, to create a detailed electronic care record for every NHS patient in England, will not be achieved.

'It is perfectly clear that throwing more money at the problem will not work,' Mr Bacon said. 'This turkey will never fly and it is time the Department of Health faced reality and channelled the remaining funds into something useful that will actually benefit patients. The largest civilian IT project in the world has failed'.

The South Norfolk MP, who triggered the NAO inquiry, said: 'This report could not be clearer. The national programme for IT in the NHS will not deliver its central aim of a detailed electronic care record for every patient in England. This was the raison d'etre for the programme and the main justification for its extremely high price. However, the NAO is clear that the �2.7bn already spent on care records systems is not value for money.

Last week the prime minister signalled that the government may end a colossal IT contract for the NHS after being challenged about it in the House of Commons by Mr Bacon.

'This has been a sorry saga,' Mr Bacon added. 'Many hospitals have been put under pressure to buy immature and incomplete software systems that they never wanted in the first place.