New IT systems in the NHS will deliver £1.14 billion savings as well as better care by 2014, a new statement from NHS Connecting for Health (CfH) claims.

It says that the National Programme for IT (NpfIT) had saved £208 million by 31 March 2007 by providing quicker, more efficient and convenient patient care across a fifth of NHS Trusts.

Of this £192 million had been saved through the delivery of the secure national broadband network for the NHS. £14 million had also been saved from the Picture Archiving and Communication Service (PACS) which creates and stores imaging and scans. The PACS system – the first of its type – has allowed an extra 5,000 procedures to be performed, because one in five traditional X-ray films go missing.

The CfH report is in response to the National Audit Office's 2006 report on the progress of the NpfIT which said that the DoH should annually state the financial and clinical benefits of the programme against its cost.

CfH is also now embarking on the second stage of the Electronic Prescription Service, which enables patients to have repeat prescriptions sent electronically to the pharmacy of their choice and add time and efficiency savings for both GP practices and pharmacies.

Health minister, Ben Bradshaw, said: “Our use of computer technology in the NHS is becoming the envy of the world. It is saving lives, saving time and saving money. If you talk to health and IT experts anywhere in the world they point to Britain as example of computer technology being used successfully to improve health services to the public.”

And NHS chief executive, David Nicholson, said: “This report shows that we've made really solid progress against delivering an integrated IT system for the NHS, which is not only making us more efficient, but is helping our clinicians and staff deliver better, safer services for patients.”

The overall cost of the NPfIT is estimated to be £12.4 billion by 2012, of which £2.4 billion had been spent by 31 March 2007. During the next year piloting of the electronic patient record service will be completed. Rob Finch