The Health Secretary Andy Burnham has pledged to slash £600m from the cost of an NHS IT revamp by paring the programme back to its most critical core elements.
Burnham told the House of Commons yesterday the Department of Health (DoH) is in talks with suppliers BT (BT) and CSC (CSC) about reducing the scope of systems being implemented under the £12.7bn National Programme for IT (NPfIT).
"We are discussing with our suppliers potential reductions to the scope of the systems and the cost savings that could be generated.
"In addition, we are looking seriously at the internal savings that can be made from the costs of running the programme.
"My aim in conducting this exercise has been to ensure that those elements of the IT programme that can deliver most benefit to patients and frontline staff are taken forward, while cancelling certain additions to the system, where it makes sense to do so.
"This means we will now pare back the programme to the core elements that have been identified as critical by clinicians," Burnham told the house.
A DoH spokeswoman said the exact nature of the cuts were not being revealed because of the need to protect the commercial confidentiality of the department's contracts with suppliers.
Burnham said the DoH had assessed whether the NPfIT was delivering value for money at the request of Chancellor Alistair Darling, who identified NHS IT as being in line for cuts in an interview on Sunday.