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MPs say England’s IT plan for NHS costly and risky

MPs have advised that the NHS could be at risk of repeating past mistakes as it attempts to modernise its IT systems.   The Commons Public Accounts Committee have raised concerns, saying that there are large sums of public money that could be wasted on the upgrade.  

MPs have advised that the NHS could be at risk of repeating past mistakes as it attempts to modernise its IT systems.  

The Commons Public Accounts Committee have raised concerns, saying that there are large sums of public money that could be wasted on the upgrade.  

Their report has said that a lack of sufficient planning will make it unclear as to whether the NHS’s IT upgrade will produce value for money.  

MP’s and the NHS’s digital division, NHSX, have also said that the NHS COVID-19 contact-tracing application, for implementation in England and Wales, will cost around £36m in total. 

On the first attempt, the app cost £11m of public money to develop, and the current version has taken another £25m to develop. 

The NHS and other health service organisations have demonstrated its potential to adapt to new technologies during the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges it brought.  

The Department of Health revealed a four-year plan in 2014, which included a strategy aiming to make the NHS entirely paperless. The same report states, however, that this target was not met but pushed back by six years, with the aim of it significantly diluted. 

The MPs have also reported that there has been a history of failure over the past, nearly 20 years. This detailed an attempt to implement an integrated system, which would electronically keep track of patient records. This programme was reported to be mostly unsuccessful.  

MPs have warned that there are none of the faculties in place, which would allow the NHS to deliver a successful digital system. 

Meg Hillier is the chairperson of the Commons Public Accounts Committee. She told the BBC that lessons from previous attempts had not been learned. She goes on to say: "Instead the government presses on with expensive and unproven strategies and contracts that cost the taxpayer millions but don't deliver."

The Department of Health was asked by the BBC to provide comments surrounding current technological issues within health services.  

According to them, GPs are currently unable to share images with other practices, which has been identified as being a significant issue. This is because different departments within the health service use different IT systems, which are not integrated. Following this, the NHSX has been called upon to urgently set standards, so that the NHS can become interoperable.

Zara Tunnicliffe

Zara Tunnicliffe

Writing has allowed Zara to learn about topics and explore further those that interest her. Zara creates a range promotional copy for events as well as content for a variety of websites and social media platforms. Zara always look forward to researching interesting topics and sharing them with others through her writing.