Health minister defends NHS

7 June 2006
More news

08 June 2006

The NHS's electronic patient records system will not operate until late next year at the earliest, the government has revealed.

The records system was scheduled to start last year. But in an interview with the Financial Times, health minister Lord Warner said it would not happen until late 2007 or early 2008.

He attempted to clear up "confusion" amid claims the National Programme for IT would cost three times the original budget.

The £6.2 billion, 10-year contracts for broadband and infrastructure to run electronic patient records were on budget, he said.

A Department of Health spokesman added: "The £20 billion includes £1 billion of training and hardware costs the NHS would commit to anyway."

The National Audit Office will produce a final report into the deal this month, but Sir John Bourn, its head, told MPs earlier this year that it would criticise the programme for not winning the support of NHS staff.

SMjun2006

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