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Government money should go towards a better NHS, not a new computer system - Farron

April 18, 2006 6:00 PM

Local MP Tim Farron is leading national calls for an independent review into the new computer system for the NHS, Connecting for Health (CfH), which according to recent reports is now projected to cost £15 billion. Such a sum could wipe out the current deficits in NHS trusts approximately 15 times over, including those of the local Morecambe Bay health trusts.

CfH is designed to hold the records of 50 million patients on a huge database. In theory, this would allow doctors and medical staff to instantly access the medical history of anybody who presented themselves for treatment.

However, the cost of this computer system has spiralled out of control. The Government initially allocated approximately £2 billion for the system; however, some suggest the figure may actually approach £30 billion.

Tim commented: "Following on the heels of the Single Farm Payments disaster this is yet another Government IT debacle. Given the current state of the NHS, the system is an appalling waste of money. The deficits of our local health trusts are negligible in comparison to the costs of this new system. I am calling for an independent review of this project to ensure that money that could save the NHS is not wasted on an expensive computer system through bad budget management. Instead, we should be spending this money on preventing cuts in our local health service".

Tim will submit an Early Day Motion calling for an independent review and for funds to be diverted to prevent health cuts and job losses. Tim will also submit a written question asking how much has already been spent on the system, how much has been committed, and whether the Government will allow an independent review.