Feeds

Outlook bleak for NHS IT

There's nothing more we can do

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The NHS's National Programme for IT - supposedly the world's largest civilian technology project - is looking increasingly unwell.

But now, with weeks until the general election, the NHS and its suppliers are desperate to score some victories.

Pressure is mounting on Morecambe Bay - which is meant to be the first place to pilot iSoft's Lorenzo patient management system. iSoft insisted earlier this month that it is still on track to go live by the end of the month.

Parts of the NPfIT have worked - digital transmission of X-rays was an early success.

But the £12.7bn project has struggled in many other ways - the government was forced to bail out central supplier software firm iSoft with millions of pounds of pre-payments. Four ex-directors of iSoft have been charged with criminal offences by the FSA. iSoft was itself taken over by IBA Health in 2007.

Doctors objected to the assumed consent model used for summary care records. The Public Accounts Committee recommended a rethink, and Richard Granger, the man in charge and Britain's best-paid civil servant, quit his post early.

Connecting for Health - the bit of government supposedly running the project - has previously claimed press were the biggest danger to the successs of the programme.

A Department of Health spokesman said: "We are continuing to work with the NHS at local level to ensure that the things clinicians have told us are most important to them get delivered. By focusing on these priority areas, we will ensure that patients get to benefit from our investment in health care technology whilst at the same time ensuring that the savings announced by the Secretary of State are achieved.

"We continue to review cost reductions to ensure that the savings obtained are commensurate with the reductions in scope and delivery profile."

The fate of the mega-project will likely be decided in the next few weeks. Whoever wins the upcoming election will be looking for any possible ways to cut UK expenditure and unpopular, expensive technology projects will be tempting targets.

But the most likely immediate result of cancelling any government IT project will be hordes of IT vendors running to their lawyers to find out how big a penalty payment they can extract from the relevant government department. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Bladerunner sequel might actually be good. Harrison Ford is in it
Go ahead, you're all clear, kid... Sorry, wrong film
Euro Parliament VOTES to BREAK UP GOOGLE. Er, OK then
It CANNA do it, captain.They DON'T have the POWER!
Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix
Everyone else in Europe compensates us - why can't you?
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US HAS RADICALISED ME!
Now my lawyers have bailed 'cos I'm 'OFFICIALLY' BROKE
Forget Hillary, HP's ex CARLY FIORINA 'wants to be next US Prez'
Former CEO has political ambitions again, according to Washington DC sources
prev story

Whitepapers

10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.