All UK hospitals will have electronic systems for storing and transferring X-rays and scans within three years.
Health minister John Hutton has announced the winners of deals for the roll out of Picture Archiving and Communications Systems (Pacs), which will start this summer through the five Local Service Providers contracted to deliver the £2.3bn National Programme for NHS IT.
"The digital image will follow the patient wherever they go and can be recalled whenever and wherever they need to be accessed by a patient's healthcare professional," he said.
"Hospitals will no longer have to pay for film, doctors will be able to diagnose treatment quicker and patients will receive a faster, better service."
Central purchasing of the technology has provided significant savings for the NHS, according to the National Programme.
Aggregate figures across the whole national implementation show a 57 per cent price reduction on diagnostic workstations, a 60 per cent saving on image acquisition equipment, a 71 per cent cut on disk storage costs, and an 80 per cent reduction on Pacs servers.
"This deal is providing better quality systems at a lower cost with increased functionality," said Richard Granger, director general of NHS IT.
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