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IT programme tried 'too much too soon'

The National Programme for IT has tried 'to do too much too quickly', health minister Lord Hunt admitted last week.

Delivering the keynote address to the Healthcare Computing Conference in Harrogate, Lord Hunt said that it was 'inevitable' the programme would suffer setbacks, and conceded that 'concerns have been very well expressed among the profession and the public'.

'Up to now people locally have not felt as involved as they ought to have done,' he said. 'It could never have been expected to be perfect first time.

'Choose and Book is about there, but of course we do have some way to go in many areas,' he added.

Lord Hunt predicted patients would embrace the introduction of summary care records, which finally got under way at two practices in Bolton last week.

'Ask the public and they actually think the NHS is providing it at the moment,' he said.

Despite its technical setbacks and negative media coverage, Lord Hunt said he was confident that the programme would help deliver 'faster, better and safer care'. 'By 2010 we will have seen full implementation of all pillars of Connecting for Health,' he said.

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