GP IT system criticised by NAO

A new IT system, which has been designed to improve quality and planning for the NHS in England, has been criticised by the National Audit Office for running over budget and behind schedule.

The NAO found that the General Practise Extraction Service cost £40 million to set up, when the original budget had been £14 million.

The system has been designed to make data from GPs available for bodies across the health and social care system but so far the information has only been provided to NHS England.

As such the NAO has concluded that with the present setup it is “unlikely” that the IT system could deliver its brief.

The GPES was created to help gather patient information from GP surgeries, such as the number of patients being diagnosed with dementia or received flu vaccinations, to help with scientific research and patient monitoring.

The system had been planned to go live in 2010, but it was not until April 2014 that NHS England received the first data set from the project; no universities, academic institutions or research bodies have received any data.

A spokesperson from the Health and Social Care Information Service, which manages the service, commented: “It is clear the procurement and design stage was not good enough,” but added that improvements are being made to the system.

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