A project to overhaul the NHS's computer service, which caused IT chaos last week at hospitals across the West Midlands, has been so beset by problems it would have been better if it had never been implemented, according to a leaked internal memo.
A 12-page analysis detailing why the project will never work was sent anonymously to an MP on the Public Accounts Committee from the computer of David Kwo who, until last year, was in charge of implementing the controversial Connecting For Health system across London, it was reported yesterday. It came after computer systems at 80 trusts and hospital across the West Midlands and the North-west crashed for four days.
Although the system is now back up and running, it will take staff days to update their computer files with patients' details, including the times and dates of their appointments, that had to be recorded manually.
The document, which was sent to Conservative MP Richard Bacon, says that the NHS would be better without the system, which is running two years behind schedule.
"The national programme has not advanced the NHS IT implementation trajectory at all; in fact it has put it back from where it was going," it says.
As the problems have increased, GPs' surgeries have opted to implement their own systems, something which the document claims is "fragmenting the national programme further".
Last night Mr Bacon said it was time for the Government to put the scheme out of its misery.
"The billion pounds spent already could have been used to run ten district hospitals for a year. Now it is clear that patient safety and public health could be at risk. It is time to halt this programme before things get worse".
It is understood that just 12 of England's 176 major hospitals have implemented even the most basic part of the system.