back to article Whitehall: 'Don't bin whole NHS IT programme... yet'

A team from the Cabinet Office has recommended that the Department of Health (DH) gives more time to two elements of England's NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT) dealing with the provision of key information systems. The Major Projects Authority (MPA), set up last year to scrutinise expensive projects throughout central …


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  1. jake Silver badge


    Wibble, wibble, wibble.

    Wibble wibble wibble, wibble. Wibble.


    Signed, very amused Guardian ignorer from Tunbridge Wells

  2. geekclick

    How to flog a dead horse..

    etc etc...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lorenzo - Really?

    IIRC there was some dodgy treatment where a parent was convinced that an oil would cure his son, the wikepedia entry regarding this for the film on which it is based (Lorenzo's Oil) includes the quote "clashed with doctors, scientists, and support groups" which probably sums up the approach of the IT companies involved.

    Does no-one make these word associations and realise that some tenders should just be filed in the round drawer?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Lorenzo's oil, a film about a young boy named Lorenzo with a rare disease...

      Not quite the association you're trying to imply.

      You will also find there are quite a few real Doctor Lorenzo's out there, and some are quite well known/respected.

      CSC were naming the various iterations of their product after noted medical professionals. So this is named after a very real Doctor Lorenzo, not after some fictional boy with a rare disease.

      1. Martin Bennett

        Correction / Trivia

        Lorenzo is an iSoft product. It's name was inspired by a statue called 'Hand of God' which was created by Lorenzo Quinn (5th son of the actor Anthony Quinn).

  4. micheal

    sounds like

    They're saying "keep the same sh*t but call it a different name and throw more money at it in the hope that by lining the major directors pockets with more taxpayers money they'll come over all moral and feel obligated to get it working"

    Lets face it, if you cant write a custom package with £XXBn and 10 years, why not try the "off the shelf" package every other Major company uses?

    My GP is best placed to decide what would make their record keeping easier, not some consultant from FujSERCEDSHPIsoft who's paid to get as much money for as little effort they can

    UK Gov IT, spending taxpayers money on endless failure to ensure a Lords seat and a Knighthood for their whitehall mates

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's not all about GPs

      Your GP may be best placed to decide what his/her practice needs but what most people don't remember is that the NHS is, despite what GPs would have us believe, not all about GPs. For more years than I care to remember, GPs have had money thrown at them to provide largely incompatible systems, but they generally don't care about non-GP health professionals as long as the clients of their particular small business (the patients) get what the GP thinks they need.

      And apparently they're going to just hand over 80bn to these independent (contacted to, not employed by, the NHS) small business-people without ever having tested our piloted it?

      Anon because I work in primary health care and am not a GP

      1. Adrian Midgley 1
        Thumb Down

        General Practice IT was the bit that worked in 2000

        It has mostly stood still since then, apart from churn and the effort to set up distant servers with wet string to connect them to the desktop at the other end of the country.

        There are EDIFACT and suchlike interfaces to the GP automation for several significant data streams.

        I'd blame the difficulty in connecting partly on the closed source nature of the systems, partly on the companies owning and maintaining them, and partly on the tendency of the operators of out of hours or end of life or whatever other new idea system to decide that everyone else is to read one screen and type it into another to interface systems.

        They've discovered the Web, you see.

        Meanwhile, if you want a tested, operational, deployed, useful system for collections of hospitals, then the US Veterans' Administration suite of software is available.

        Free, as it happens. The productised version is at

        In 2001 a team from the NHSIA travelled to Washington DC, and we must understand reported that writing new software for NHS hospitals from scratch would be better, better value for money, and give a better result with less risk of failure, than taking on what was free and - to be fair - adapting it to UK use.

        I can see the language difference between American and English would be a problem, but I think we might have overcome it.

        Its easier now...

  5. Colin Millar
    IT Angle

    Cart before horse

    The problem with the NHS procurement model isn't that it needs tech thrown at it.

    What the NHS needs is

    1) Get a service delivery model that knows what it is meant to be delivering

    2) Get a management structure that stays the same for longer than the tenure of a health secretary

    3) Identify responsibilities within 2) for doing 1)

    4) Enforce 3)

    5) Sack any idiot who thinks that GPs can run the NHS

    Until the strategy is fixed operational structures and methods will always be temporary. Without some degree of strategic and operational stability and an agreed change methodology you will never know enough to define your data management requirements.

    And only a complete moron would build their data management around tech considerations.

    At this stage there really is no IT angle.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Somebody, somwhere

    wants a seat on the board.

    Could be civil servant, nhs bureaucrat, politician.

  7. Gio Ciampa

    A slightly more IT-centric version of Colin's list

    1. Establish a standard protocol for transmitting patient details from system to system

    2. Only purchase systems that support it

    (HL7 covers the first as I recall)

  8. Muel

    Why do I get...

    a feeling of deja vu?

    Having worked on the 'shop-floor' for years I am not well-placed to comment on strategic manoeuvrings - Yet I see collaborative systems in Scotland, Denmark, Canada and possibly more that reportedly seem to be either starting to work or are working well from a Patient's perspective (admittedly I have no immediate first-hand experience of this).

    Never mind joined up systems, seems to me a lack of joined up thinking - Why are we doing this again?

    Sad face beats Troll face.

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