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Wednesday, 12 April, 2000, 23:34 GMT 00:34 UK
NHS warned on computer spending
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Operating costs: The NHS is told to watch its IT budget
Radical change is needed in the management of the NHS's 1bn budget for new computer systems, the head of a House of Commons watchdog warned.



There now needs to be a sea change in the way the NHS manages its investment in IT

David Davis
Better information technology was highly desirable and would "underpin" the modernisation of the health service, said David Davis, chairman of the Public Accounts Committee.

Recent reports from the National Audit Office "graphically illustrated" the need for improved information about equipment, bed management and hospital acquired infections, said the Tory MP.

"Time and again, we have seen poor design, poor implementation and weak cost control," he said.

"There now needs to be a sea change in the way the NHS manages its investment in IT."

Mr Davis's warning came after his committee published a report that urged the NHS to monitor the eight-year IT strategy it launched in 1998.

The cross-party report praised health managers for learning lessons from their "poor" handling of a previous strategy launched in 1992.

Mr Davis said: "Many of the building blocks are in place but the NHS Executive need to exercise a firm grip on implementation to secure the full benefits of investing more than 1bn in new systems."

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