The NHS’s £12bn National Programme for IT (NPfIT) could be put on hold as the government seeks to reduce public spending.
The project, which centres on the creation of a central database of patients’ medical records, may be postponed, said Chancellor Alistair Darling, because it is not “essential to the frontline.”
Speaking on BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show, ahead of Wednesday’s pre-Budget report, Darling said: “I do think it’s necessary for me on Wednesday to indicate where we are going to cut spending or where we’re not going to spend as much as we were.
“For example, the NHS had a quite expensive IT system that, frankly, isn’t essential to the frontline. It’s something that I think we don’t need to go ahead with just now."
The plan has been labelled “short-sighted” by the British Medical Association (BMA) which claims there are other areas of the NHS that should be subject to financial scrutiny first.
The move is expected to be one of a number of “efficiency savings” the government will announce in this week’s pre-Budget report, as it sets about saving £12bn over the next four years.
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