£13billion Write Off.
This is another example of the Westminster political system at it’s wasteful best. Scotland does not need to accept this level of incompetence. Vote, “Yes” in the September referendum.
The Labour government, in 2002 decided to computerise NHS records in England so that, at the touch of a button a patients records could be displayed on screen anywhere in England. The hidden purpose of the development, (to be completed by 2004) was to install computer systems so that financial reporting could be introduced allowing billing to be introduced.
Six years after it was conceived and blessed by a widely grinning Tony Blair, the disastrous National Health Service IT scheme was cancelled and the sum of £13billion written off, having been been officially classified as, “deeply in the doo-doo”.
Well-documented delays, generously estimated at four years, and chaos (Eyes passim ad nauseam) stem from the big-is-beautiful approach adopted by the IT experts who set up the programme. Rather than set standards to which hospitals with hugely varying requirements should develop their own systems, regional monopoly contracts were awarded to four big IT consultancies, who themselves turned to large but completely unprepared software companies.
An NHS chief conceded to a committee of MPs that the main software, provided by US firm Cerner, was “based on billing, and, developed in America, and does not take into account a whole series of issues around 18-weeks and patient tracking with result that all aspects of the software would need to be rewritten.
Another software firm, iSoft, had an even worse record. The new “Lorenzo” system promised for March 2004 was, nearly five years later, “only now, being very tentatively tested”. Way to go!
In the years since major problems were identified, instead of ditching the project, those in charge simply reset the start date again and again at an ever increasing cost of many hundreds of £millions to the taxpayer.