§ Ms Blears
Yes. Our programme for modernising the national health service (NHS) as set out in the NHS plan will rely on the provision of efficient and effective information systems to enable the benefits for patients and the public to be achieved. A common e-mail system is one component of this; by opting for a common system across the NHS the maximum benefits of value for money will be obtained. To this end, the NHS information authority is currently conducting a formal open procurement exercise for e-mail and directory services for the NHS. It is expected that subject to successful completion of negotiations a preferred bidder will be announced shortly.