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15 Oct 2002 : Column 818Wcontinued
Mr. Hutton: The national booking programme began as 24 pilots in 1998 and since September 2001 is being implemented in every health community in England in order to move booking to a mainstream way of providing National Health Service services. By
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December 2005 all inpatients and outpatients will benefit from the choice of a convenient date, time, place and provider for their hospital appointments and admissions.
Booked appointments are one element of the reforms set out in the NHS Plan to provide health services designed around the patient. The lifetime costs of the booking programme are not separately identifiable from the overall costs of improving patient services. The table below shows funding made available to the national booking programme since 1998.
|National Booking Programme Funding since 1998 (# million)
Ms Blears: The Gateway Review 3: Investment Decision is designed to ensure that the recommended investment decision is appropriate before a contract is placed. It provides assurance on the processes used to select a supplier, whether the process has been well managed and whether the business needs are being met. It also provides assurance that the proposed solution can be implemented and managed to achieve a successful outcome.
The national Information Technology programme as a coherent whole, and each major component thereof, will be subject to a Gateway Review 3 at the appropriate time. Some major elements e.g. electronic appointment booking may reach Gateway Review 3 earlier than others but this stage should be completed for all components by Spring 2003.
Ms Blears: The national programme for Information Technology in the National Health Service, Delivering 21st Century IT Support for the NHS successfully completed the Gateway Review 0: Strategic Assessment in July 2002. The gateway review process is not an audit and the key stages of the review process are not in the strict sense, pass or fail.
The Office of Government Commerce team review and make constructive recommendations to the senior responsible officer, in this case Sir John Pattison. We are acting on their recommendations to ensure the programme management, monitoring and resourcing is appropriate and are now working towards Gateway Review 1.
Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what formal assessment he has made of the relationship between size and risk in the successful procurement and delivery of NHS IT projects; and if he will publish such assessments and its supporting evidence. 
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Ms Blears: The initial work on developing a national strategic programme and implementation plan for Information Technology in the National Health Service did consider an outline risk analysis. A major component of the risk management strategy will be through the rigorous application of the Office of Government Commerce gateway review. The programme team will also have risk management as one of its core functions.
The Department is also guided by advice from the Office of Government Commerce in developing formal business cases for key components of the national programme when necessary as part of the procurement process. This would include individualised risk assessments. At the appropriate time the risk analysis and management assessments will be made available.
Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether the e-Envoy's office will be involved in managing implementation of the NHS IT programme, Delivering 21 Century IT Support; 
Ms Blears: The office of the e-Envoy has been consulted on the initial development of the national programme for Information Technology in the National Health Service and the implementation plan. Andrew Pinder, the e-Envoy, will be a key part of the ministerial taskforce on IT. The taskforce is to be chaired by my noble Friend, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary, The Minister for IT in the NHS and will monitor the feasibility and progress of the programme and evaluate the way it is being managed.
There was no recommendation on the specific future role of the e-Envoy's office from the gateway review process. The office of the e-Envoy will continue to provide technical advice and help co-ordinate the programme with wider eGovernment initiatives as we proceed through the Office of Government Commerce gateway review.
Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions his Department had with potential preferred service providers before the Government announcement on NHS IT policy; and if he will list the potential preferred service providers with which such discussions were held. 
Ms Blears: The Department routinely receives many approaches from suppliers of healthcare information technology (IT), services and information communication technology. The policy for some time has been to promote partnership working across the IT supplier community and this has involved two way dialogue on the aims and objectives of the Department and ideas based on the experience of a whole range of small and major IT suppliers.
One of the supporting workstreams in the new national programme for IT in the National Health Service is entitled ''Developing IT Industry capacity for the NHS''. A number of meetings with NHS IT suppliers have been held to introduce the proposed
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procurement strategy. There was also a one day forum on 22 July that was attended by approximately 200 NHS IT suppliers.
Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the total expected cost of implementing the NHS IT programme, Delivering 21 Century IT support is, for each year between 2003 to 2009, in terms of (a) current baseline spending and (b) additional investment. 
Ms Blears: Delivering the NHS Plan in April 2002 promised a greater share of new investment for information and communication technology. The increased levels of funding from April 2003 to March 2006 are part of the Spending Review 2002 and no details have been made available yet.
Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment he has made of the consequences for existing NHS IT suppliers of the preferred service provider model for NHS IT procurement; and if he will publish it; 
Ms Blears: We published the summary of the overall procurement strategy for the national programme on 26 July 2002. Its purpose was to provide information on the preferred model, approach and contracting arrangements and enable consultation with a wide audience across the NHS and National Health Service IT supplier community. Almost 90 responses were received and the feedback and comments are being reviewed. A synopsis of the main feedback will be published in early October and work continues on developing the full procurement strategy. The full version of the procurement strategy will be available by December 2002.
Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what advice he has given to NHS trusts and PCTs relating to potential planning blight in the purchasing and installation of IT systems following the Government announcement on NHS IT policy on 12 June. 
All NHS trusts are also expected by December 2005 to have implemented the first generation of electronic records that will provide a common set of applications and functionally across the NHS. Wherever current procurements are in hand our clear message has been to proceed. The Interoperability of systems will be critical to delivering national services and specifications and standards for NHS IT systems. They are still in development, indeed will continue to develop over time
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but we have made it clear that compatibility with key standards that are known is an essential requirement for current procurements.
Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether his Department has agreed with the Office of Government Commerce an action plan to implement corrective actions to the NHS IT programme identified by the OGC as necessary following its Gate Zero Gateway Review; 
(3) how many corrective actions to the NHS IT programme were identified by the Office of Government Commerce as necessary following its Gate Zero Gateway Review; and if he will list them. 
Ms Blears: New and large-scale procurement projects in central Government are subject to gateway reviews. The process examines a project at critical stages to provide assurance that it can progress successfully to the next stage. The review provides project teams with advice and guidance from fellow practitioners and in order to maintain the integrity of the advice, this is held to be completely confidential by both parties. The gateway review process is not an audit.
No action plan with the Office of Government Commerce is routinely produced as a part of the gateway review process and none has been agreed in this case. However they do make recommendations to the senior responsible officer, in this case Sir John Pattison, on good practice in key areas such as programme management and involving key stakeholders. The national programme is taking their key recommendations on board as appropriate to help prepare for implementation and the next stage in the gateway review.
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