March 2002: A new direction for NHS IT announced, based on national standards and procurement from a limited list of suppliers

June 2002: The Department of Health publishes the IT strategy Delivering 21st-Century IT Support for the NHS: a national strategic programme

October 2002: Richard Granger appointed director general of NHS IT

December 2002: An official advertisement placed in the Official Journal of the European Communities for 'prime service providers' to deliver different elements of the strategy

May 2003: An output-based specification for an integrated care records service is published. A NASP will be appointed to develop the data spine and five LSPs to build local systems to feed into it

Winter 2003: BT wins the spine contract and the LSP contract for London (where it heads the Capital Care Alliance). Accenture wins the LSP contract for North East and Eastern clusters and CSC Alliance wins the North West and West Midlands

Summer 2004: Accenture signs with prime subcontractor iSoft for its Lorenzo suite of administrative and clinical applications. The Leeds-based company promises a first release at the end of the year. CSC also chooses iSoft, while the other two LSPs go with US firm IDX for its Carecast software

January 2005: The National Audit Office reports that just 63 referrals were made using C&B in 2004 against a target of 200,000. It predicts that the service will not be fully available by the end of the year

February 2005: Roll-out of phase one of the EPS begins

April 2005: NHS CfH established as NHSIA is disbanded

June 2005: Southern cluster LSP Fujitsu terminates contract with IDX amid rumours that it is nine months behind schedule. Fujitsu contracts with US firm Cerner for its Millennium software

November 2005: NHS chief executive Sir Nigel Crisp admits C&B is running a year late

January 2006: iSoft announces it will make no profit this year on its NPfIT work, triggering a fall in its share price

March 2006: Accenture announces it has put aside US$450m to cover losses on its NPfIT contracts because of delivery delays and indicates it will try to renegotiate its involvement

April 2006: A group of 23 computer scientists publish an open letter calling for an independent technical assessment of the national programme

May 2006: Health minister Lord Warner admits that the total cost of the programme is likely to be at least£20bn by 2010

June 2006: National Audit Office publishes a broadly supportive report

August 2006: iSoft runs into deep financial trouble when its founder is suspended for alleged accounting irregularities. The Financial Services Authority launches an investigation. A report by the LSPs contracting with the troubled firm suggests there is no credible date for a release of its long-awaited Lorenzo software.

October 2006: iSoft enters talks with potential buyers

September 2006: Accenture walks away from the national programme and£2bn worth of contracts. The move casts doubt over the viability of the of the programme - Accenture installed more than 800 of the 1,000 systems in place so far and it was unable to make a profit. CSC is awarded the contracts instead

April 2007: Public Accounts Committee issues damning report on state of NPfIT finance and progress to date

June 2007: Richard Granger announces he will step down as DG for NHS IT at the end of the year to return to the private sector

September 2007: Health Select Committee issues a critical report into the electronic patient record

October 2007: Australian company IBA completes iSoft buy out

November 2007: Government responds to health select committee report, accepting that there have been delays but rejecting recommendations to decentralise the programme further