Major changes to the national programme for IT in the NHS have been signalled as the NHS chief executive launched a review and MPs announced an inquiry.
The Department of Health confirmed last week that David Nicholson had ordered a review to 'ensure that [IT] is a normal part of NHS business, supporting the delivery of better quality and safer care'.
At the same time, NHS Connecting for Health, which runs the programme and is preparing for executive agency status, is 'looking to ensure [the programme] is correctly structured and staffed to deliver'.
HSJ understands the two moves together indicate a much bigger role for strategic health authorities and a slimmed-down central team.
In a newspaper interview last week, NHS director general of IT Richard Granger said he would need a smaller team because elements of the programme will take longer than planned to deliver.
He admitted the programme is having difficulty persuading trusts to accept new patient administration systems, because of tight funding, problems with data cleansing and limited benefits from the patient administration systems on offer.
Confirmation of the changes emerged as the Commons health select committee announced a new investigation into NHS IT.
The move was welcomed by the British Computer Society and academics, who have been pressing for a further review since the National Audit Office issued a surprisingly positive report on the programme's early years this summer.
Meanwhile, campaigners launched a 'big opt-out' campaign to encourage people to contact their GPs and put a stop to their medical records being loaded on to the NHS data 'spine' when the summary element of the NHS Care Records Service goes live.
The campaign is also urging people to 'opt out' of having their medical data used in other ways. It argues that the summary record will compromise patient confidentiality and that there are too few guarantees on how information in the NHS CRS service will be shared.