Failed NHS IT programme still costing taxpayers

The National Programme for IT in the NHS is continuing to incur significant costs despite being officially ‘dismantled’ a committee of MPs has found.

Launched in 2002, the National Programme (known as the Lorenzo system) was designed to reform the way that the NHS in England uses information but has proved to be one of the biggest failures in the history of the public sector.

The programme was a joint venture between the NHS and IT services company, CSC.

In 2011, the Government announced that it would dismantle the National Programme but keep the component parts in place with separate management and accountability structures.

The Department of Health has said that it expects just 22 trusts will continue to utilise what remains of the Lorenzo system.

Richard Bacon MP, a member of the Committee of Public Accounts, said: “The taxpayer is continuing to pay the price for the ill-fated National Programme for IT in the NHS. Although officially ‘dismantled’, the National Programme continues in the form of separate component programmes which are still racking up big costs.

“The original contracts with CSC totalled £3.1 billion for the setting up of the Lorenzo care records system in trusts in the North, Midlands and East. We still don’t know what the full cost of the National Programme will be. The Department’s latest estimate of £9.8 billion leaves out the future costs of Lorenzo or the potential large future costs arising from the Department’s termination of Fujitsu’s contract for care records systems in the South of England.

“Given the Department’s track record with the National Programme, it is very hard to believe that the paperless NHS towards which the Department is working has much chance of being achieved by the target date of 2018.”

“This saga is one of the worst and most expensive contracting fiascos in the history of the public sector.”


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