NHS IT scheme to be scaled back

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NHS IT scheme to be scaled back

The chancellor Alistair Darling and the Treasury are to scale back spending on the NHS's National Programme for IT.

Although the BBC reports that the NPfIT "may be cancelled in Wednesday's pre-Budget report", the Treasury has said that only parts of the programme will be scaled back.

Alistair Darling told the BBC yesterday that the NPfIT "isn't essential to the frontline" . This contradicts the previous position of health ministers and officials: that the national programme will help avoid unnecessary deaths by giving doctors information on allergies, drugs that can cause adverse reactions, and other important information at the point of care.

The e-prescriptions part of the NPfIT is aimed at cutting the number of deaths caused by errors in medications.

Darling said: "I'm not doing a spending review just now. But I do think it is necessary for me on Wednesday to indicate areas where we are going to cut spending, or where we're not going to spend as much as we were.

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