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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Manifesto campaign is a long overdue rescue effort

I noticed your article on the restriction of choice in IT systems as revealed by health minister John Hutton (News, March 12). It is a shame that GPs were misled on this before the vote, but that is now water under the bridge. It is odd the GPC's IT chair, Dr Cundy, is still under the impression there is a real choice. The GPC had agreed a choice of two: The Bad and The Ugly.

More baffling is that GPs are not allowed to choose a system that is approved in a different area. What is the use of a regional system that cannot link up to the national spine?

I suspect, however, it is just posturing of the health minister to bully EMIS into submission. But I think throwing more than half of GPs into a panic for his own agenda would be scum tactics.

It might be of interest to note that the information I obtained under the Data Protection Act from my PCT indicates annual maintenance cost of IPS (VAMP ViSion) is £1.06 per patient a year, EMIS between 55p and 80p and Phoenix 52p.

The higher end of my EMIS figures would compare with the £5,000 for 6,000 patients you are quoting (83 per patient per annum).

I think it is incomprehensible that cost-effectiveness is not featuring anywhere in this waste of taxpayers' billions on IT by the health minister and NPfIT.

Dr Hank Beerstecher

Sittingbourne

Kent

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