The national programme for information technology (NPfIT), which is being delivered by the NHS Connecting for Health agency, is an essential part of creating a safer, and more efficient and modern national health service. The foundations have now been laid, and the organisational and commercial infrastructure established, to deploy the systems the NHS needs to provide more effective health care to patients. Implementation work continues to gather momentum and its impact is beginning to be felt more and more widely across the NHS.
The programme has already delivered new systems to thousands of locations in the NHS. The extent of deployment of the programme's many software suppliers' systems across the five regional cluster areas, as at the end of January 2006 has been placed in the Library.
Progress is within budget, ahead of schedule in some areas, and, in the context of a 10-year programme, broadly on track in others. It now has over 180,000 registered NHS users across England. The live IT systems are performing well and are regularly achieving their contracted service and performance levels. Weekly updates of performance and deployment data are being routinely published on the internet.
Altogether, we estimate that well over one and a half million patients have already received improved and safer care as a result of systems and services made available through national programme developments. This figure is increasing every week.