Feeds

NpfIT responds to Reg criticism

Doing it differently would have been more expensive...

3 Big data security analytics techniques

Letter The Register always welcomes letters on any subject. We received the following missive this lunchtime in response to this story:

Sir

I wish to respond to the story you published on 6 June 2006 ('NHS IT costs hospitals dear').

The scheme under which NHS staff are provided to our suppliers (known as the Managed Authority Employees scheme) is intended to provide NHS expertise to suppliers in order to ensure the design and development of systems is fully informed by frontline NHS experience. At cluster level (region) contracts were agreed by senior NHS management, so the NHS was fully involved in the decision-making process.

It is right that the development of new IT systems for the NHS should be informed by the experience of frontline staff. And the scheme to second staff to our suppliers enabled substantial reductions in the price of the contracts. These arrangements were considered and approved by the NHS as part of the approvals process, at the time the contracts were concluded.

In practice it has proven to be more challenging to the NHS than anticipated to provide these staff. Many of these staff are involved in the pre-deployment activities in their local health communities, or are engaged on 'Expert Reference Groups' which inform the design and development processes. We have therefore concluded discussions with the relevant suppliers to modify the schemes.

The outcome of the discussions with suppliers has been positive. In the Southern Cluster, even after accepting a financial liability of £19 million due to the inability of the NHS to provide these staff, the overall contract price is still c£20 million lower than would have been the case if the scheme had not been written into the original contracts.

In the North West and West Midlands Cluster, 30 per cent of the required secondees have been provided and discussions have resulted in the NHS being released from the obligation to provide more. Some £5 million has been paid to CSC in recognition of this but overall, the original contract price was still reduced because of the scheme.

It has been reported that the NHS has been "fined". The NHS has not been "fined". It has to pay for not meeting its contractual obligations. That is a fair way to conduct business. And to be clear, the net impact of the whole scheme has been to reduce the price of the contracts from which the NHS, both collectively and as individual organisations, will benefit.

In addition, it is completely incorrect to claim that the NHS National Programme for IT is over budget.

Theo central costs of the IT programme, covering the core contracts, are £6.2bn. These costs have not risen. However, we have long been clear that the cost of implementation will also include local NHS IT spend on software, hardware and training. These costs will be met by trusts' existing spend on IT - around £1bn a year - so to claim costs have spiralled to £20bn is misleading as it includes the £6.2bn central costs plus additional existing local spend on IT over the 10 year implementation of the programme. The NHS would have spent at least £10 billion on its old out-of-date IT.

In terms of the delays in implementation, as with any large complex programme there will be difficulties t deal with. However, over the course of a 10 year programme it is important to get things right over the long term rather than wrong to a short term timetable. The programme is steadily developing digital imaging in place of old x-rays, electronic prescriptions and booked appointments. Patients are getting increased choice of where and when they are treated.

Yours faithfully

James Herbert

Director, Communications and Public Engagement

NHS Connecting for Health

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Whoever you vote for, Google gets in
Report uncovers giant octopus squid of lobbying influence
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.