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Dodgy IT systems, security breaches and the House of Commons

Our round-up of the health headlines on Wednesday 3 August.

The Telegraph reports on Pulse's story yesterday that GP practices around the country have been warned that at least 216 letters have been posted to patients with security codes for door entry and key safe boxes printed on the front of the envelopes.

Carers and nurses use the confidential information to gain entry to immobile patients' homes but it was wrongly added to records on the Personal Demographic Service, and then put onto address labels when letters were sent out.

Data hits the headlines of several other papers after the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee suggested that despite costing £2.7 billion to date the National Programme for IT, designed to integrate patient records, has no clear benefits and the rest of the £7 billion budget could be better spent elsewhere

The scathing report from MPs prompts The Independent to claim that ministers are indeed set to scrap the central part of the hugely expensive and late system.

Instead the paper suggests that local health trusts will be allowed to develop or buy individual computer systems, with a much smaller central server capable of "interrogating" them to provide centralised information on patient care, begging the question: why did they not do that in the first place?