Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Machine that Goes "Ping"

For over three years now, I've been banging-on, with many like-minded others, such as the BMA, that the National Programme for IT, the Health Service computerisation project, is an expensive disaster, flawed in both planning and execution.

Now, a Parliamentary committee has concluded that "Millions of patients" are "unlikely" to see any "significant clinical benefits" from the National Health Service's £12.4 billion national computer system by the time all of the money has been spent in 2014, MPs warn.

The committee chairman, Edward Leigh, commented that 'urgent remedial action is needed' to protect patients and taxpayers.

The Commons public accounts committee found that pilot projects on the National Programme for IT were already two years late and there were fears that the project would cost £20 billion - more than three times the original contract cost.

Government has attempted to resist the obvious for ages but the reality is that Ministers should be wary of the promises of consultants selling technology. - £70 billion has been spent on consulting by this government and all the large flagship projects I can think of, have failed on a grand scale - More of that later today.

Just to remind you of the technology that we are all paying up to £20 billion for:


Anonymous said...

Having worked for ten years as a civil servant I have yet to see an IT project that either works as it should or comes in at the price agreed. IT firms must rub their hands together whenever they see some new planned government IT purchase. I think part of the problem is allowing the civil servants too much involvement. Most government work I have done has had in house experts. Nerds who can build a home pc who are then considered "experts" and have too much say in purchase and deployment.

Michael Child said...

Using the local government websites what always amazes me that they always seem to use the most complicated technology available. Posting the local election candidates which is about 8 images of sheets of paper instead of putting them up as jpg images they are up as pdf files that poorer Thenetonians who have older computers probably wont be able to read them. I published them at http://www.thanetonline.com/district_council_statement_of_persons_nominated.htm as jpg images. Now they of course publish them as active server pages, anyone who publishes anything on the web will tell you this is one of the most difficult ways to publish it also means that often if you link to it the link is unreliable. http://www.thanet.gov.uk/council__democracy/cllrs,_democracy__elections/elections_and_voting/election_3_may_2007.aspx doing it this way means that none of the text is searchable on a site search as it is in image form so all of the complicated technology fails to deliver any benefit that I can see. Perhaps Simon who is an expert in these matters can understand why, to me its like paying the expenses of a Rolls Royce to drive round in a Reliant Robin.

Anonymous said...

As a possibe patient of the NHS I am seriously impressed with the expenditure on IT so that doctors can call up my medical notes on screen rather than read them in hard copy. The only problem is will the clinic I would rather pay for in Turkey, be able to get my notes on line? I will be in Turkey because although they might not have wasted £BILLIONS on a system to call up my notes, they do manage to keep their hospitals clean. There is no way I want to join the 100+ per week who die as a result of acquiring C. dificile or MRSA in NHS establishments but whose notes to record their exit from this world can be instantly put on computer!

Anonymous said...

I too work in the civil service and have yet too to find a custom computer application or utility that actually works properly which has been supplied by an outside IT supplier. Over the last 6 months I must have spent at least two days a month in total trying to sort out one problem or other to the detriment of the work I am suposed to be engaged in.

James Maskell said...

Adobe Acrobat files are frustrating to use. Since I am unable to use my own computer its a game of chance as to whether I can view pdf files. Im sure it couldnt hurt to quickly do key documents in a more accesable format?