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Independents' Day

Government rejects NHS IT review

By Steve Nowottny

The Government has rejected calls from an influential group of MPs for an independent review of the National Programme for IT, insisting ‘the costs of the programme remain under control'.

It has also refused to hold a review by the Chief Medical Officer of clinical involvement in developing new systems.

The announcements come as part of the Government's official response to the Public Accounts Committee's damning report into the national programme, which was published in April.

The report highlighted a catalogue of problems, including a delay of more than two years to the care records system, and a failure by the Department of Health to win GPs' hearts and minds.

Tory MP Edward Leigh, chair of the committee, warned at the time the programme was ‘not looking good' and re-quired ‘urgent remedial action' at the ‘highest level'.

The BMA also called for an urgent public inquiry into the National Programme for IT at its annual representatives' meeting in June.

The Government's response says: ‘The Department does not consider there are grounds for an independent review of the business case at this stage.'

However the department will produce an annual statement of the programme's costs and benefits, the first of which will be published later this year.

Responding to the Public Accounts Committee's claim it had ‘failed to carry an impor-tant body of clinical opinion with it', the government said it would ‘keep the means of se-curing clinical involvement under continuous review, though, given the changes made, it does not see the need for a review by the Chief Medical Officer.'

Although dated 25 July, the Government's official response only emerged at the end of last week, having been apparently ‘buried' as parliament went into summer recess.

The response was published on an ‘Official Documents' reference facility website rather than through normal channels such as the Public Accounts Committee website.

A spokesperson for the Public Accounts Committee said on Friday he was ‘not aware' a response to the committee's report had even been published.

The report can be found at

Government rejects MPs' call for review of NHS IT Government rejects MPs' call for review of NHS IT

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