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Audit report on NHS IT project 'was toned down'

A National Audit Office report into the £6.8 billion NHS National Programme for IT was toned down before it was published, it has been alleged.

BBC Radio 4's World at One programme reported last week it had evidence that passages were removed between the consultation with Government and other parties in January and publication in June this year.

The final version, which was less critical than had been expected, said parts of the programme were behind schedule and that Connecting for Health had not sufficiently consulted clinicians.

But an earlier version had used stronger language.

A phrase saying the programme had been 'slow in securing the engagement and commitment of the NHS' because 'more work was needed on engagement'.

A comment about 'insufficient trainers to train NHS staff' was not present in the final

version.

The audit office has maintained its main conclusions were unchanged and that it was normal for reports to be passed to interested parties before publication to ensure they were 'fair and accurate'.

A further section saying the 'NHS currently lacks sufficient skills to deliver the programme' was also missing

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