The government has promised a cost benefit analysis for the National Programme for IT by March next year.
The promise comes as a review of NHS IT systems yesterday criticised the National Programme for IT’s Integrated Care Record Service (ICRS), also known as the NHS Spine.
The Spine could have cost the public anywhere between £12bn and £20bn but the government has been hesitant to commit to a full cost review until now.
The benefits of the programme have also been difficult to measure, partly because the project has suffered constant set backs which have now pushed it five years behind schedule.
On Monday an independent review of NHS IT was published and called for a thorough assessment of how cost effective the current National Programme for IT is according to the benefits that can be derived for patients.
The review was commissioned by the Tories last year and produced by the NHS IT Policy Review Group - a mixture of health and computer experts and leading clinicians.
“The government has never published a compelling cost and benefit analysis of the National Programme for IT,” said the Conservative Party, following the report.
“This is despite calls for one in the latest Public Accounts Committee report and in Office of Government Commerce gateway reviews, which periodically assessed the early progress of the Programme,” it added.
An NHS representative said: “We intend to publish an annual statement in 2010 covering the period up to March 2010. This will include an update on costs and benefits of the programme in line with the commitment to the Public Accounts Committee.”
The NHS IT Policy Review Group proposed letting citizens store their own medical records using online services such as Microsoft HealthVault and Google Health.
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