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NHS Cancels £12 Billion IT Program

The current version of the British National Health Service's National Programme for IT has been canceled. The program was created in 2002 to ensure that every National Health Service (NHS) patient had an individual electronic health record that could be easily shared across the NHS. However, the rollout of the program has taken longer and cost much more than many expected, and has been called "unworkable" by the Parliament's Public Accounts Committee. Originally, the program was expected to cost only £2.3 billion over three years. The most recent estimate was £12.7 billion over 11 years and the completion date was pushed back to 2014–2015. The Public Accounts Committee report has shown that even this date was implausible.

Changes and expansions that have already been made to the IT system will likely remain intact, including an electronic booking service, picture archiving for electronic images, and a secondary uses services that allows research and management data to be extracted from patients' records. The NHS has spent over £7.6 billion on the system and plans to launch a new strategy in November of this year.

The end of the current version of the program has left some asking how the government plans to deal with many of the contracts they signed as part of the program, which have often been pointed to as a source of waste and inefficiency within the program. Peter Dyke, head industry liaison at the NHS Connecting for Health agency, emphasized that implementing such a large scale program requires patience.

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