Thursday, May 19, 2011

NPfIT: National Programme of Failed IT in the NHS

I have a suggestion for the Queen:

Perhaps the NPfIT (National Programme for IT in the NHS) should be renamed the
"National Programme of Failed IT in the NHS."

No new acronym will be needed.

For this pleasure, the UK has spent upwards of £13 billion.

Of course, we as the progeny of the UK are going down the same path, surely soon to have a "National Program for Failed IT in the US." Ours will be a bit more expensive, unfortunately.

Excerpts from the US and UK press (read the entire pieces at the links):
Wall Street Journal
Auditor Blasts UK HIT

The billions of pounds spent so far on England's much-delayed electronic patient record system within the National Health Service have been poorly used and the project urgently needs to be reassessed to ensure taxpayers get value for their money, the U.K.'s National Audit Office said Wednesday. A report released by the independent body concludes that the £2.7 billion spent on the records systems so far "does not represent value for money."
NHS IT system 'has cost billions without delivering ANY benefits'
By Sophie Borland
18th May 2011

Health Minister damns project as 'expensive farce'

The NHS’ controversial project to computerise all patient records has cost billions of pounds without delivering any benefits, according to a damning report.

It warns the project is running years behind schedule and will probably never happen.

The £11 billion scheme, launched under Labour in 2002, was meant to create a central computer database of all patient records which could be easily be accessed by GPs and hospitals.

But from the outset it has been hit with technical glitches and arguments between the companies installing the systems.

The scheme has also been heavily criticised by leading doctors and privacy campaigners who warned patients’ personal details would be vulnerable if stored on a database that could be easily accessed by thousands of NHS staff.

... The project was meant to be completed last year but the report warned that it was unlikely to be finished even by 2016, when the contract with one of the main firms installing the system expires.

So far only a few hospitals across the country have installed the new system – and there have been widespread problems.

Doctors have said it is too slow to use during busy clinics and other staff have reported the system suddenly crashing.

Ministers last night described the project as an “expensive farce” and demanded it was scrapped immediately.
Computerworld UK
Official: Failed NHS National IT programme has no chance of delivering value for money
Time to turn off the life support machine?
By Leo King
Published 00:02, 18 May 11

The NHS National Programme for IT, which is now budgeted at £11.4 billion, has no chance of delivering value for money and has failed on all of its crucial elements.

That is the verdict of a sharp report, compiled by the National Audit Office, that the prime minister has publicly insisted on assessing before any more deals are signed with suppliers. The report will be followed by Public Accounts Committee hearings and a Treasury report, which will also precede any signature.

National audit of the £11.4bn, 10-year UK program to automate all NHS patient records concludes "the project has not been value for money for the Dept of Health."
BBC News
£7bn NHS electronic records 'achieving little' for patients

Patients are getting "precious little" from the NHS electronic care records system in England, a watchdog says.

The £7bn system to replace paper files is falling further behind schedule and in places where it has been introduced it is not working as it should.

The National Audit Office also said some patients would not even get one as large chunks of the NHS had pulled out.

In conclusion, the NAO said the system was not providing value for money - something the government rejected.

Electronic care records are the key part of the overall £11.4bn NHS IT project.

The scheme was launched in 2002 with the aim of revolutionising the way the health service uses technology and also includes developments such as digital x-rays and fast internet connections.
It is the third time the NAO has looked at electronic records - and each time the findings have been more damning.
The Guardian
Government urged to abandon NHS IT programme
Polly Curtis, Whitehall correspondent, Wednesday 18 May 2011 12.03 BST

The government is coming under increasing pressure to abandon plans for a new NHS patient record system after the official spending watchdog said the scheme was very likely to waste another £4.3bn in the next four years.

The original aim of the £11.4bn NHS IT programme – to install a patient record database accessible from any point in the NHS in England by 2015 – will fail, the National Audit Office (NAO) warned.

The £2.7bn spent so far on the system has not been value for money, the watchdog said, adding it had no confidence that the remaining £4.3bn would be any better spent.

The nine-year-old project – the biggest civilian IT scheme attempted – has been in disarray since it missed its first deadlines in 2007. While its ambitions have been downgraded in recent years, the bill from the suppliers has remained largely unchanged, the report said.

MPs appealed for the remaining contracts to be abandoned to prevent the £4.3bn from going to waste. It amounts to more than one-fifth of the £20bn efficiencies the NHS is attempting to achieve.

I think it fair to say the UK has been massively fleeced and abused by its suppliers, consultants and health IT pundits.

The people of the UK have paid for this boondoggle. They should think of it as a form of taxation without representation, an abuse of their rights.

Perhaps they can learn a valuable lesson from this document:

The Declaration of Independence of the United States

Truth brings freedom.

-- SS


Anonymous said...

Criminal charges should be filed. Fraud and deception.

Live it or live with IT said...

I think it would be best to allocate even more money to solve the problem.

InformaticsMD said...

I think it would be best to allocate even more money to solve the problem.

I am increasingly of the beliefthat "solutions" are not possible, due to the health IT ecosystem and all that implies (see essay).

You heard it here first - national IT is an experiment that will prove an expensive failure.


Anonymous said...

Didn't UPMC also make a bunch of money from NPfIT