U.K. Health Service To Dismantle Nationwide Health IT Program

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On Thursday, government officials in the United Kingdom announced that they are scrapping a £11 billion [about $17 billion] national health IT project, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Officials said that some of the £6.4 billion [about $9.9 billion] spent on the health IT project so far has been wasted and that the program "is not fit to provide the modern IT services," that the National Health Service needs (Whalen, Wall Street Journal, 9/23).

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said that the National Programme for Health IT, which launched in 2002, "let down the NHS and wasted taxpayers' money" (Press Association, 9/22).

Recent Report

The move comes after the House of Commons' Public Accounts Committee published a report stating that the health IT project is "beyond the capacity of the Department of Health to deliver" (iHealthBeat, 8/5).

The report particularly criticized the implementation of a system that aimed to help doctors and nurses track patients as they moved through the hospital. According to the report, there were "major delays" in the development and rollout of the system.

Plans for Dismantling IT Project

On Thursday, the U.K. Department of Health said that future IT decisions will be made at the regional level and that more vendors will be allowed to compete for health IT contracts (Wall Street Journal, 9/23).

In addition, the U.K. government is establishing a new cabinet-level oversight committee that will monitor future health IT investments to ensure funds are not wasted.

Lansley said, "We will be moving to an innovative new system driven by local decision-making. This is the only way to make sure we get value for money from IT systems that better meet the needs of a modernized NHS" (Beckford, London Telegraph, 9/22).

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