The cutbacks will see much of the remaining parts of the project delivered locally so long as hospitals can ensure that local IT systems fully integrate with national IT infrastructure already developed. Dr Chaand Nagpaul of the British Medical Association said that \”Giving NHS organisations more choice of IT systems makes sense, but we also need to be aware of the problems that could arise from a more localised approach. The provision and experience of IT for clinicians on the ground is likely to vary according to the level of support and resources available locally. It is important that successful national IT initiatives are not lost, and that innovation is not stifled.\”
Simon Burns, a health minister, said that \”Improving IT is essential to delivering a patient-centred NHS. But the nationally imposed system is neither necessary nor appropriate to deliver this. We will allow hospitals to use and develop the IT they already have and add to their environment either by integrating systems purchased through the existing national contracts or elsewhere. Moving IT systems closer to the frontline will release £700m extra in savings. Every penny saved through productivity gains will be reinvested to improve patient care.\”
It has been thought that the NPfIT was first earmarked for cuts back in June when the Government announced radical changes to the way the NHS operates. In a white paper, Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary announced plans to turn the NHS on its head today with far greater power given to patients and General Practitioners in a bottom up rather than top down system. The new approach will see patients given control of their medical records, one of the most troubled parts of the NPfIT system.
The proposals include plans to:
- Allow patients to communicate with their clinicians via an online system
- Give patients access to their Medical Records
- Maximise the use of Choose and Book, the online appointment booking system used by GPs to organise consultant meetings for patients
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