New delay for NHS 24 computer system roll out

NHS 24 operator at screen

A crisis-hit computer project for the NHS 24 telephone helpline will not be fully rolled out across Scotland until the end of next year – four years later than originally planned.

The call handling and IT system is more than £40m over budget and was initially due to be ready for October 2013.

An earlier attempt to introduce the system had to be abandoned.

The programme will now be phased in for some services from this summer with a national roll-out by the end of 2017.

Earlier this year, the planned June launch was pushed back to the “summer of 2016” after an issue that caused computer screens to appear blank.

It followed an earlier incident in which the system crashed and staff had to resort to pen and paper to deal with patient calls.

The new technology is meant to make NHS 24 more efficient but is expected to cost £117m, more than 50% higher than the original estimate.

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