PHE's predecessor, the Health Protection Agency, was fairly useless during the swine flu epidemic as well.
81 posts • joined 20 Jul 2011
This comment from 2018 sums NHS IT up perfectly.
"Some time ago, my company was supplying an expensive team of software engineers to a firm of management consultants ( who shall remain nameless) to install a real-time bed booking system in a London hospital. A real-time system was costing far, far more than an online service seemingly for no benefit to anyone and it's purpose was a constant cause of speculation amongst the team and was a complete mystery to all involved. As time went by, more and more engineers were thrown at the project to the point additional office space had to be found.
Eventually, our company became seriously concerned at the sheer size of the monthly cost of running the contract and our financial director was having to seek larger and larger amounts of working capital just to keep the show on the road.
Just why it had to be real-time and not online was never explained officially but it became increasingly obvious that some senior manager didn't actually appreciate the difference between real-time and online. Vast amounts of money were thrown at an increasingly vain attempt to implement the system, and at no time was any money spent on disaster recovery or even a robust backup system.. Towards the end, it had become obvious to everyone involved that what was required of them was impossible to achieve, and several representations were made to the management that the plug should be pulled, however these were ignored, possibly because everyone involved was making more and more money from the doomed project.
Eventually, the whole thing collapsed leaving absolutely nothing in usable code and a small mountain of unusable hardware. The strange thing was the seemingly inexhaustible budget."
The UK's lockdown followed publication of a report by Imperial College London based on an epidemiological model of Covid-19 that predicted critical care capacity in the health service would be overwhelmed. A derivative of the code of that model has been released on GitHub and is available for review. The code has some significantly non-deterministic outputs which put its utility into question.
Ive just finished reading this interesting book about the Integral Fast Reactor civil nuclear power research programme. The IFR programme solved, in principle, the problems of the production of radioactive nuclear waste with extremely long half-lives and the production of materials that could be used in nuclear weapons. It also made significant advances in passive safety features in a nuclear reactor. It was cancelled in 1994, three years before completion, by President Bill Clinton at a time when renewable energy research was thought to be more important.
It would make more sense to deprecate the use of NHS numbers as unique patient identifiers and replace them with National Insurance numbers as unique patient identifiers.
There may be a very small number of permanent migrants to the UK who do not have NI numbers (such as dependents of another person who do not pay tax or claim benefits) and it may be that new immigrants to the UK should be advised to apply for an NI number as soon as possible.
Children would be treated in the same manner as adults. Children have NI numbers which are created when their birth is registered but at present the Department of Work and Pensions does not routinely issue them until 15 years and 9 months of age. However there is no reason why their NI numbers cannot be issued earlier if there is a use for them.
We should charge non-British citizens for use of state education, with an exception for asylum seekers. At present entitlement to state education for economic migrants is based solely on residency and not on whether they are net contributors to the Exchequer.
I await cries of racism from those in the public sector who use ever increasing demands on public services as justification for their jobs.
"The Reg hears near-constant news of its adoption for serious work by reputable companies."
Now that would be interesting.
I noticed she ommited to wipe the injection area with alcohol beforehand, presumably slightly increasing my chances of an infection, but I didn't say anything.
It used to be thought that was the case, but now it turns out that as long as the skin is visibly clean, disinfecting it doesn't make any difference for blood taking.
The fact that software is licensed rather than sold allows software manufacturers to get away with a great deal.
I can't think of any product which can be sold, be found to be flawed in a way that makes it unfit for the purpose for which it was sold and the vendor of which can't be compelled to repair, replace or offer a refund. However, because software is licensed the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and Sale of Goods Act 1979 don't apply.
The NHS has lawyers; I'd like to see them test this against Microsoft in court.
The security versus convenience compromise is usually wrong in the NHS because messages from doctors, nurses, pharmacists etc on the front line are ignored by those who make the implementation decisions.
I worked in one large hospital where management decided to tighten up security and have a whitelist of accessible websites. Unfortunately they didn't include the British National Formulary, TOXBASE etc with predictably hairy results. When they eventually responded to this they overreacted and scrapped far too many security measures with predictably hairy results in the other direction.
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