HC Deb 26 May 2004 vol 421 cc1705-6W
Mr. Yeo

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what timescale his Department has set for the implementation of the national programme for IT in general practice. [160664]

Mr. Hutton

The concept of national health service national care records service and the national programme is to provide integrated clinical information systems across the whole care continuum. Support for delivery of care by general practitioners and other primary care practitioners is an integral part of the programme.

There are some specific systems relevant to GP practices and the general medical services payments project. They cover payments for practices and primary care information management systems and are currently being tested for conformance to standards and operation with existing GP systems. Once the technical testing has been successfully completed, a programme to roll out the new systems will begin from September 2004, with guidance, training and support being delivered alongside.

As stated in our policy document, "Delivering 21st Century IT Support for the NHS", published in June 2002, the programme will be implemented in phases, with phase one—the national bookings service, the national prescriptions service, and the NHS care record service—to be implemented by the end of 2005. Phase two covers implementation by 2008, to include a richer NHS care record service, with core data and reference links to local electronic patient record systems for full record access.

An additional third phase is planned for implementation between 2008 and 2010 to provide ambulance telemonitoring implemented in all emergency response vehicles, home telemonitoring in all homes requiring it, and a unified health record that includes all appropriate social care information.

There will be full implementation of person-based electronic health records, as set out in "Information for Health", published in 1998. The national programme will be building on this to create substantial additional functionality in the period up to 2010.

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