Feeds

MPs slam 'unworkable' one-size-fits-all NHS care records' system

Concludes £7bn project failed, calls for 'urgent' review

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

The Department of Health has failed in its attempt to properly integrate electronic care records across the NHS system, MPs concluded in a scathing Public Accounts Committee report published this morning.

Politicos said that Andrew Lansley's department should seriously consider ditching the £7bn implementation of the care records system, which forms part of the £11.4bn National Programme for IT.

It asked the DoH to review whether the remaining £4.3bn left for the project would be "better spent elsewhere".

The report added that the department had failed to "get the best out of its suppliers" – BT and Computer Sciences Corporation.

Both companies have been paid a combined total of £1.8bn so far, but are yet to fully deliver the care record systems tech agreed with the department, which has spent £2.7bn on the project to date, in their original contracts.

CSC has implemented what the committee described as "a large number of interim systems as a stopgap".

The DoH has been negotiating with the IT firm for over a year and recently admitted to the committee that ending the contract with CSC could be more expensive than allowing the company to complete the project.

Similarly, BT failed to deliver against its original deal with the department, which revised its contract with the telco giant by reducing the number of systems requested and then increasing the price for each one BT successfully implemented, said the report.

"The department is clearly overpaying BT to implement systems: BT is paid £9m to implement systems at each NHS site, even though the same systems have been purchased for under £2m by NHS organisations outside the programme," said the MPs.

They pointed to "poor accountability for project performance" at the DoH.

The committee, which is chaired by Labour MP Margaret Hodge, added that it was unclear how the programme would be managed in future "given the fundamental NHS restructuring that is expected over coming years".

MPs also questioned the department's inability to divvy up timely and accurate information and evidence to the public accounts committee.

The report also echoed concerns the same committee expressed last month about the Cabinet Office's plans to move more public services online, with that department failing to adequately address cyber-security in the government's IT and communications strategy.

"We are very concerned at the lack of evidence of risk management of security issues which may arise as a result of medical records being held electronically. The Department must address possible compromises in data security," it said today.

Joined-up care records across the NHS in England were "unworkable", said Hodge.

"It is unclear to us how the wider health reforms and NHS restructuring will affect the future management and governance of the care records system. The NHS trusts who will take on the risks have no contractual relationship with existing suppliers and no information about potential future costs," said the MP.

The Register asked BT and CSC to comment on this story, but neither company had responded to our request at time of writing.

A DoH spokeswoman gave us this statement:

"The government recognises the weaknesses of a top-down, centrally-imposed IT system. Although elements of the programme have been delivered successfully, the policy approach previously taken has failed to engage the NHS sufficiently.

"We have already taken action to improve value for money in the NHS IT programme. We have reduced spending on the NHS IT programme by £1.3 billion. We are engaging with the NHS to ensure it delivers even greater benefits for patients.

"We are determined to deliver even more value for money from the programme. The findings of the Public Accounts Committee, alongside the outcome of the Major Project Review Authority, will contribute to the planning currently underway for future informatics support to the modernised NHS.” ®

Application security programs and practises

More from The Register

next story
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK.gov's Open Source switch WON'T get rid of Microsoft, y'know
What do you mean, we've ditched Redmond in favour of IBM?!
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.