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NHS Connecting for Health

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Dec 15, 2021

The NHS Connecting for Health (CFH) agency was part of the UK Department of Health and was formed on 1 April 2005, having replaced the former NHS Information Authority. It was part of the Department of Health Informatics Directorate, with the role to maintain and develop the NHS national IT infrastructure. It adopted the responsibility of delivering the NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT), an initiative by the Department of Health to move the National Health Service (NHS) in England towards a single, centrally-mandated electronic care record for patients and to connect 30,000 general practitioners to 300 hospitals, providing secure and audited access to these records by authorised health professionals.

On 31 March 2013, NHS Connecting for Health ceased to exist,[citation needed] and some projects and responsibilities were taken over by Health and Social Care Information Centre.

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Contracts for the NPfIT spine and five clusters were awarded in December 2003 and January 2004.[1][2][3][4]

It was planned that patients would also have access to their records online through a service called HealthSpace. NPfIT was said by NHS CFH to be “the world’s biggest civil information technology programme”.[5]

The cost of the programme, together with its ongoing problems of management and the withdrawal or sacking of two of the four IT providers, placed it at the centre of controversy, and the Commons Public Accounts Committee repeatedly expressed serious concerns over its scope, planning, budgeting, and practical value to patients.[6][7][8] As of January 2009, while some systems were being deployed across the NHS, other key components of the system were estimated to be four years behind schedule, and others had yet to be deployed outside individual primary care trusts (PCTs).[8]

The Guardian noted that the announcement from the Department of Health on 9 September,[9] had been “part of a process towards localising NHS IT that has been under way for several years”.[10] In 2011 remaining aspects of the National Programme for IT were cancelled, and most of the spending would proceed with the Department of Health seeking for local software solutions rather than a single nationally imposed system.[11] On 31 March 2013, NHS Connecting for Health ceased to exist,[citation needed] and some projects and responsibilities were taken over by Health and Social Care Information Centre.

In August 2018, NHS launched a healthcare finance innovation initiative to identify solutions which could streamline financial operations.[12]

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