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back to article Two top posts at NPfIT are still empty

The NHS's National Programme for IT is still looking for leaders following the departure of director general Richard Granger in January. In April, the NPfIT announced it would also lose its chief information officer Matthew Swindells, who was a temporary replacement for Granger. He will leave this month. Richard Jeavons, the man …

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IT Angle

It's pretty clear

The problem is they're looking for toffs when they should be looking for someone who actually knows how to switch on a computer.

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Cool, I can see it now.

Interviewer: "And how do you see your first year in the post?"

Response: "Well, I'd sack the first three tiers of this hideously top-heavy administration and re-route the newly released funds to provide every hospital with an additional 50% more nurses, doctors, ambulance drivers, porters and ancilliory workers (janitors, security, receptionists etc); shift cleaning back to in-house where it belongs, buy back the carparks so that visitors no longer get charged for helping us to entertain their loved ones; then I'd double everyone's wages, buy every doctor, nurse and trainee their own laptop and set up a small data centre in each hospital to network them using a simple spreadsheet for taking bookings from surgeries over the telephone and syphon off the other half of the money to a secret Swiss bank account.

Interviewer: "I see. The Swiss bank account seems quite reasonable but I have a few problems with the rest of your statement. Thank you, don't call us"

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Ian
Gates Horns

The money's not that good

Because there's a strong chance that it's a career-ending move for someone with a history in health IT. You would end up hated by everyone: government (because you were the person who failed to deliver what they still, laughably, regard as an election-winning system), civil service (you won't make any friends as you stamp around the DoH trying to Get Things Done), NHS at large (they just want to install local PAS systems, keep PACS running well and, er, that's it), suppliers (you'll have to beat them up, pull a few contracts and refuse to sign such paltry invoices as they are able to submit under the contract) and then government again (as you make distress purchase deals with the suppliers to provide on-going support for what they _have_ installed after they walk away from the programme).

The point about government employees being able to leave the government and get jobs in industry is that they know where the bodies are buried and the presumption is that the bodies still matter. Being the leading expert in CfH is like being the world's best gas mantle maker: either Labour will put it out of its misery, or it'll wither away as foundation hospitals declare UDI, or as a backstop in two years an incoming Tory government will shoot it on sight and blame their incompetent predecessors for the size of the settlement involved. An incoming Tory government has to shoot CfH and ID Cards on day 1, because on day 2 it becomes their problem and they can't blame Labour any more.

So anyone good enough to run the NHS IT is good enough to do something easier, safer and more long-lived. Hence, no credible applications.

Bill, because he sweet-talked Tony and got us into this mess.

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Anonymous Coward

...can we say

...poisoned chalice?

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Anonymous Coward

Don't want techies.

This is a job for a couple of over-paid tossers if ever I saw one.

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They're probably empty because...

...anyone not ruled out by reason of being stark slathering bug**** is going to look at these posts and be thinking words like "chalice", "poisoned" and "not for all the tea in China, sunshine"?

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Coat

Wot...

...no comment on the outgoing chief information officer's name? It's a "Swindell" if ever I saw one.

Mines the one stuffed full of contractors cash...

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Anonymous Coward

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God, what thankless jobs they'd both be.

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Anonymous Coward

Just paint a target on their backs......

and get it over with.

Look for more departures of both contractors and managers. After all, who in their right mind wants a load on ignorant plebs shouting slandering them from the safety of the House of Commons, and that's just the ones who went to Eton.

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Happy

and why do you think you are the right person for the job?

there isn't a "right person" for the job. There's one applicant - do I get it or not.

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Anonymous Coward

intellectual spastics

"the big picture of delivering our overall IT vision" - who writes this stuff? what are they on?

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Anonymous Coward

Here we go again

I was a programmer working in the NHS in the early 1980s and clearly remember the Wessex HISS debacle. I can't remember any successful large-scale NHS system, although there are thousands of very successful small-scale ones.

It should also be borne in mind that almost all of the successful systems and projects were designed, managed and implemented by dedicated public sector NHS employees. Almost every private sector involvement that I can recall was an expensive farce.

Why is it so difficult to understand that the private sector works for short-term profit and has little interest in providing a working solution for public services. The worse the job they do, the longer they will be 'supporting' it.

The government should stop throwing away tax-payers money on private companies & consultancies and create public sector excellence by rebuilding a public sector software industry.

Jean

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Anonymous Coward

Contractors

I must agree that the NHS is run by people who seem to be from Mars, they have no concept of how IT should be implemented. I work as a contractor for the NHS and I am employed to be reactive to problems and not proactive. If I identify a possible problem I am encouraged to ignore it until it becomes a problem, its a mad system. The pay for an IT professional is a joke, some of the people I work with are only band 3, they could get the same money being porters or cleaners and have no responsibilities, In fact I don't know why they stay in jobs where they are treated so badly. At least being a contractor I can walk away when it gets to much. There are so many things I see and hear that are wrong, eveyone I meet has their own story about the NHS, I see dirty wards run by people who have given up on making a difference, I speak to admin staff who are overworked but I also see staff who are underworked and just make themselves look busy. There is apathy throughout the whole NHS which can be quite negative. They call the "IT Helpdesk" the "no IT helpdesk " because it takes us so long to fix their IT problems. The IT people on the ground struggle to stay focused on the jobs in hand because they are expected to solve every problem on every system without the benefit of training. Most of the staff who use Pc's for their everyday work are hopeless, they lack basic IT skills and get little or no training in the programs they use. I could go on and on but even I am depressing myself now.

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IT Angle

I can't find the ad!

I am currently between positions but unfortunately I know and understand IT. Does this automatically preclude me from the position?

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IT Angle

technologically advanced my arse

I worked in the NHS for a year as a programmer.

I only lasted a year as the culture in the trust consisted of active resistance to new ideas and technology; for example I one proposed setting up an e-mail system to exchange doctors letters as a replacement for secretaries printing out mountains of paperwork and sending them in the internal post (the trust had secretaries whose sole job was to pull trolley loads of letters around all day).

I was told that “the trust has always exchanged letters this way and it works well, so we are not willing to change it”.

When I left on my last day I felt like I had been released from prison.

Paris, because she is more technologically advanced than my old trust.

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