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MPs condemn IT programme failures

The National Programme for IT has lost the backing of GPs and requires 'urgent remedial action' at 'the highest level', according to a damning report from MPs.

The Public Accounts Committee warned the Department of Health it had failed to win GPs' hearts and minds and needed to urgently improve its communication.

Its report, published this week, also said the care records system was already running two years late, and that suppliers were 'struggling to deliver'.

'The department has failed to carry an important body of clinical opinion with it. In addition, it is likely that serious problems with systems that have been deployed will be contributing to resistance from clinicians,' the MPs concluded.

Tory MP Edward Leigh, chair of the committee, said the project was 'not looking good', and that its benefits were 'unclear'.

'Scepticism is rife among the NHS clinicians whose commitment to the programme is essential to its success,' he said.

Fellow Tory committee member Richard Bacon MP called for Connecting for Health to be scrapped. He said: 'It has left doctors, nurses and hospital managers spitting with rage. Most GPs think the appointment booking system is a joke.'

But health minister Lord Hunt said the PAC report was based on a National Audit Office report that was 'a year out of date'.

'Since then substantial progress has been made and the NAO recommendations have already been acted on,' he said.

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