» Friday, June 16, 2006

NHS IT Projects

Asked about the NAO report on the NHS IT project and press reports of overspending, the PMOS highlighted several points in the NAO report. It said that the NHS computer system was much needed and it was well managed. It was based on excellent contracts and because of that fact it had saved £6bn. It was delivering major savings. It was on budget at £12.4bn and had made substantial progress. In other words the NAO had confirmed that the cost of the program had not overrun. Instead the IT system would provide much needed coherence for the first time on how the NHS used it records, x-rays and bookings. All of which could not be done as efficiently and effectively as possible with the current system. It would deliver for the first time real choice based on real information for patients up and down the country. Put that it was meant to cost £6bn but Lord Warner had said it was going to cost £12bn, the PMOS said that Lord Warner had been talking about the overall NHS IT budget, which if you added together the frontline services programme, meaning the x-rays, bookings and records, and the backroom costs, meaning personnel etc, this was what Lord Warner had been referring to as £12.4bn. The NAO report was specifically talking about the frontline service so reports of costs in the £20bn region were just flat wrong as the report indicated. It said actually said that the NHS had saved £6bn because of the good contract.

Briefing took place at 6:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Crime Speech

Asked what the Prime Minister's speech on crime next week would cover, the PMOS said that he would be able to brief on the detailed content at some point next week. That said he could give them an indication of the context. No doubt they remembered the recent series of foreign policy speeches the Prime Minister had delivered. He would now be starting a series of speeches from now till the autumn on domestic matters. The first of those would be next Friday. It would be a broad based analysis of where we were in the criminal justice system and what needed to change. The Prime Minister had been consulting experts and expert opinion on a range of matters as he had for his foreign policy series. What he would be saying next week would not be related to recent events but would cover the whole context in which we addressed these matters.

Briefing took place at 6:00 | Read whole briefing | Comment (1)


Asked about the Japanese reports suggesting that British troops might withdraw from an Iraqi province, the PMOS reminded journalists what Prime Minister Maliki had said when the Prime Minister had met him in Baghdad. There would be a process where, if the circumstances and the growing capacity of the Iraqi troops allowed, the Iraqi government would take control of security province by province. Prime Minister Maliki had indicated that he thought that process might begin this July. So we could not confirm these reports because this was a matter for the Iraqi government. The way it would work, however, was that the Iraqi government would decide when it was ready to take over a province and then authority for that province would be handed over. This would then gradually have an effect on coalition troop numbers. Our understanding was that that process would take a number of weeks. But first and foremost when it would start was a matter for the Iraqi government.

Briefing took place at 6:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)


Asked about the Iranian President's comment calling for an independent inquiry into the holocaust, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister saw no need for such an inquiry. The grim reality of that was there for all people to see.

Briefing took place at 6:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)


Asked if the Prime Minister had seen the football and what he thought of the performance, the PMOS said that we were not giving a running commentary on the team's performance. The Prime Minister had managed to catch the last ten minutes of the first half and the final twenty or so minutes of the second half so he had seen the all-important goals.

Briefing took place at 6:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

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