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NHS 24 to begin relaunch in September



Scotland’s IT system for telehealth and telecare scheduled for phased roll out following almost a year of work after first launch failed

The IT system set up to support Scotland’s telehealth and telecare service is due to be relaunched during September, after almost a year out of action due to technical problems.

NHS 24 is set for a scaled relaunch, beginning with support for selected services and stretching into 2017.

A statement from the organisation said: “NHS 24's technology upgrade programme will be introduced in a phased approach starting with planned care telephony services in September 2016.  These include Breathing Space, NHS Living Life, the Musculoskeletal Helpline, Death Certification, Blood Transfusion and the Fit For Work Service.

“The next phase, following further detailed planning, will be to partner with one health board initially to introduce the system in a controlled environment with dedicated resource, ensuring it is working effectively prior to a broader national roll out by the end of 2017.”

The system was initially launched in November 2015 – more than two years after the original target date of June 2013 – but was withdrawn after 10 days due to operational problems. The health service returned to using legacy systems.

The relaunch was reportedly delayed in April of this year after new technical difficulties arose.

The project has been subject to some withering scrutiny from auditors. Last year Audit Scotland highlighted the long delays and pointed to the resultant financial risk, and earlier this year, NHS 24 acknowledged shortcomings highlighted in a report submitted to the Scottish Parliament’s Public Audit Committee. The report said the projected costs had risen from £75.8 million to £117.4 million and there was a danger they could increase by another £7.6 million.

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