The government is to investigate the NHS National Project for IT (NPfIT) procurement process as the £6.2bn project enters the implementation phase.
Major contracts have been awarded to consortia over the past few months, and the channel is awaiting subcontracts. The National Audit Office (NAO) will now examine these to establish whether they are delivering value for money.
"Our study will examine the procurement processes used for placing the contracts; whether contracts are likely to deliver good value for money; how the department is implementing the programme; and the progress made by the programme so far," said the NAO announcement.
The investigation follows claims by the Institute for Public Policy Research think tank that the government would have to justify investments in the NHS if it wants to retain political backing.
Steve Reynolds, managing director of services at software vendor Civica, said the NAO enquiry was to be expected. "It does this sort of thing in the public sector. As the NPfIT is so big it is no surprise. The NPfIT seems to have done pretty well negotiating prices, particularly on hardware," he said.
James Drewer, healthcare programme manager at IT industry body Intellect, said: "If you are spending £6bn of taxpayers' money this is bound to happen."
He added that Intellect is in favour of the NPfIT in principle, because its members are involved in supplying IT to the NHS.
"We will be meeting the NAO to see how we can support its investigation," he said.
A NAO representative said the organisation welcomes feedback from bodies that can help it, and that it currently has no concerns about the programme. "We are not going into that much detail. We are not particularly concerned about the project, but now is a good time to take stock and look forward," he said.
MSP plans to use new acquisition to expand its security offerings
Reseller also saw its operating profit fall five per cent in its financial 2017
Wendy Bahr to bring 18-year spell at networking giant to an end
AdEPT says latest purchase will push revenue beyond £50m