Better care expected from NHS IT programme, UK

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The new IT systems in the NHS, UK are on course to deliver better care and an estimated ?1.14 billion in savings by 2014, according to the first annual Benefits Statement published by the UK Government.

It shows that since its introduction, the UK National Programme for IT has already delivered a total of ?208 million in savings by providing quicker, more efficient and convenient patient care.

The report summarises information from 1 in 5 Trusts who have implemented new IT from the National Programme. It found that, of the ?208 million in savings to 31 March 2007:

?192 million had been saved through the delivery of the National Network for the NHS – a secure, high quality network that underpins many applications (with an additional ?95 million per year of forecast recurrent savings using evidence from 2006/07).

?14 million had been saved from the use of digital imaging and scans (plus an additional ?35 million per year of forecast recurrent savings now the system is fully implemented).

?617,000 savings on software licensing and hardware maintenance costs had been achieved (plus a forecast ?1.6 million of annual savings using evidence from 2006/07).

This provides a forecast of ?120 million a year in annual savings based on information for 2006/07.

The Programme is also the first to fully implement a digital image and scanning system in any G8 country. As a result, every year 5,000 more patients are able to have their procedures performed because in the past 20% of X-ray films used to go missing.

Health Minister Ben Bradshaw said: “Our use of computer technology in the NHS is becoming the envy of the world. It is saving lives, saving time and saving money. If you talk to health and IT experts anywhere in the world, they point to Britain as example of computer technology being used successfully to improve health services to the public.”

Chief Executive of the NHS David Nicholson said: “This report shows that we’ve made really solid progress against delivering an integrated IT system for the NHS, which is not only making us more efficient, but is helping our clinicians and staff deliver better, safer services for patients.”

Sir Cyril Chantler, Chair of the Great Ormond St Hospital Trust, said: “I have always fully supported the ambition of the National Programme for IT, to provide accurate and timely information to improve the quality and efficiency of patient care.

“This Benefits Statement demonstrates the challenge is beginning to be met and both patients and clinicians are experiencing real improvements in access to treatment, in safety and in diagnostic support.”

Source: NHS Connecting for Health, UK

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