MPs have criticised an IT system designed to integrate NHS patient care records, saying it is unworkable and has wasted millions of pounds.
Some £6.4bn has been spent on the £11bn National Programme for IT so far, including £2.7bn on patient records.
However, the Commons Public Accounts Committee said although the plan had a "worthwhile aim", it was "beyond the capacity of the department to deliver".
The MPs said the new system was "significantly" behind schedule and that the costs had added up.
They added that the Department of Health could have avoided some of the issues and waste by consulting with healthcare professionals when the project was launched back in 2002.
Copyright © Press Association 2011
Do you agree with the Committee? Your comments (terms and conditions apply):
"Definitely! Some of the facilities have been useful e.g. GP2GP but the summary care record system was a complete waste of money. Security has always been an issue for me; an optimistic estimate of 500,000 clinically related staff having access seems a security breach waiting to happen. EMIS access has a facility for patients to view their own records online which is free and patients can control their own access wherever there is an internet connection. Seems like a much better way of sharing information, controlling the access and spending just a little administration time setting it up for patients" – Name and address withheld
"This is presumably the same Department which advised the last government that GPs would never perform to the maximum on QOF; that changing the GMS contract would save money; that said Choose & Book was the best thing ever to get patients into hospital quickly and that micro-managing an NHS that had evolved well over 60 years would lead to better patient care? It makes you wonder whether leaving PCTs in place and abolishing the DH would be better!" – Alan Moore, Cheshire
"Now MPs have decided that this project has been a waste of time and money we are supposed to take notice. Healthcare professionals who work at the sharp end delivering services told the government, MPs and the Department of Health this was a disaster waiting to happen but we were totally ignored. just think what could have been done with the £6bn wasted. Perhaps one day the so-called experts will actually ask the people who do the work and even more revolutionary perhaps the so-called experts should work in hospitals or GP surgeries so that they understand what a complex environment it is before coming up with similar IT disasters" – Ken Spooner, Radlett