All GPs get link to online NHS

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The Independent Online
EVERY GP in Britain is to receive a desk-top computer under plans being announced by the Department of Health today.

The machines will provide local doctors instant access to on-line medical information and provide an e-mail link with local hospitals and the rest of the NHS. Test results will also be available through the GPNet system, which could cut waiting time for patients.

Health chiefs had allocated just one computer per practice but decided every GP should have one after discussions with the General Practitioners Committee of the British Medical Association.

Alasdair Liddell, director of NHS planning, said: "This will go beyond previous commitments and will be designed with the objective of ensuring that all GPs have access to an integrated system capable of delivering high quality clinical support to each GP desktop."

The expansion means the project will not be completed by the end of the year, as had been expected. Mr Liddell said: "Most people would agree that taking the extra time and care to get a system that works is far better for users and a far better use of taxpayers' money than setting up one system in the short term only to have to replace it in no time at all."