Atos awarded contract for NHS records

Yesterday’s Health Select Committee hearing looking at the reason for the delay in the project has found that Atos have been awarded the contract to extract patient records from GP practices as part of the scheme. MPs on the Committee raised concern about the safety of data extracted from GP practices, as well as Atos’ fitness to conduct such a contract given its current problems implementing the Work Capability Assessment and assessments for the Personal Independence Payment. Conservative MP Dr Sarah Wollaston told Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter that “there are many sensitivities around Atos – it’s reasonable to see why the public might be concerned about that.

The bungled rollout of was used by Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham as his main line of attack against Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt in the House of Commons yesterday, with Burnham calling on Hunt to install a cross-party committee of MPs to look at how best to turn around the scheme. Jeremy Hunt criticised Burnham for constantly playing down the achievements of the NHS, arguing that the Shadow Health Secretary “searches for crisis in the NHS with about the same success as George Bush searching for weapons of mass destruction”.