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back to article Tory Grandee puts boot into NHS Google plans

Conservative MP David Davis this week slammed the idea of using Google as part of the NHS IT solution as "naïve" and "mad". Writing in the Sunday Times yesterday, he said: "I could only hope that it was an unapproved kite-flying exercise by a young researcher in Conservative HQ. If not, what was proposed was both dangerous in …

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Unhappy

Just a thought -

If Google, Microsoft or other commercial entity were given the opportunity to manage health records and, as part of the contract, were permitted to data mine them to defray costs then do you think it is likely they would include in any contact they might make with an investigating 3rd party terms that give them rights to IP derived from the investigation? Might be a bit like giving BP (or Exxon) IP rights to all plastic derived products.

The badness of the idea of a commercial entity having IP on health records is just too much for words. Central government is just incompetent and, probably, the worst they could do is loose data and expose UK subject to a bit of fraud. "Experts" like Google & MS are an order of magnitude more efficient and, potentially, several orders of magnitude more malign as profit is involved.....

May a Deity protect us because our politician won't!

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Badgers

Actually

Google already has all your sensitive data, you just don't know it. That's how good it is.

And.. China PROVES rather than disproves how good Google is. If a government asks it to do something, it does it DESPITE ethical and moral reasons. It can be trusted completely to do what it is told.

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FAIL

Last one out...

turn of the lights

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back to the drawing board? please, no

"It might be as easy – and safer in design terms – to go back to the drawing board and build a system up from scratch."

Hmm; I thought they tried that once already. Y'know, that NHS National Programme for IT thing? Which seems to have delivered less than Google and Microsoft have, taken longer and cost billions.

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Clippy

'Hi, it looks like you're having a vasectomy...'

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Rob
Bronze badge
Stop

@lukewarmdog

Unfortunately China is a bad example, they do what China's government says as they desperately want in on the country with one of the largest populations going, for that reason alone I'd say Google will do whatever China's gov wants so that it's in favour to make a buck out of the population.

Whereas the UK gov it could quite happily tell to piss off cause it's already making a buck out of the people with or without our government contracts.

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Unhappy

"Last one out... "

...wasn't that The Sun's headline as New Labour came in? No one ever did turn the lights out did they...

i think DD is being a prick about this. Little information masquerading as being well versed. Google isn't that bad, considering having EDS, or CSC, or Fujitsu managing the data,...

Come on Tory Boys! Get in and get this sorted!!

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Anonymous Coward

They could use Excel

And it would still be better than what the government has come up with so far

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Anonymous Coward

The NHS National Programme

The reason it is failing/has failed is because everything was done wrong from the word Go. Far too ambitious specs, bad choice of providers, bad design, bad choice of sub-contractors, bad management, etc. Not wanting to be sued for libel, I am not mentioning any names but if anyone would care to do a simple bit of research, they will soon see the names behind the Programme all carry a big Fail.

Users will tell you that what has been delivered is rubbish beyond description while the providers pocketed £13 billion between them. The main players were chosen by a naive and uninformed government and it looks as though subsequent governments, whatever their rhetoric, will head down the same route. There is really only one solution - nationalise the Programme and let the NHS do it themselves. After all, who knows better about systems other than the parties that actually use it? NHS IT developers are a very capable bunch who have been writing their own systems for years before the National Programme came in. Health organisations who exchange data across several sites with differing systems will confirm that they are already doing whatever the National Programme has failed/yet to deliver.

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I trust Google more than I trust Gov

...That is all.

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Unhappy

Sad. Very, very, very sad!

I too trust google and Microsoft far more than UK civil servants in charge of present health service recording and such like.

And it is a sad, sad event that a politico voices an opinion without providing detailed facts.

Should the Tories win, well, it will be easy to understand if google and MS find alternative venues to the UK for research and admin.

I'd also guess that a key part of google & MS systems is for users to view their own data or at least have an opportunity to do that (health, personal responsibilities and all that. Apparently in the US all of one's hospital records are one's own property just in case one wishes to use an alternative health provider. Novel idea isn't it?)

No, my guess is that it is far better to take this initiative from civil servant meddling direct to politicians finalising terms and agreements. Shame about Tory bias though.

I wonder if he was speaking for the party or as an individual?

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Unhappy

Oh yes! An afterthought.

Well you see, it is or tends to be like this in the UK.

Politicians in government set the vision and rely on civil servants to make the vision manifest.

One pattern of weakness in reporting these matters is to assume that politicians are responsible for the day to day running of stuff. Well, they ain't. It is civil servants that are charged with day to day running and the management or procurement of such. Yet, forsooth! no one seems to realise that?

Imagine you are a bigwig on a cruise liner.

The captain of the liner comes along and asks very politely where one would wish to go today.

"Crete!" one might reply.

Then the captain goes about organising crew to make sure that Crete is the next stop and all arrive safely.

Such is the division of efforts between politicians (we want to go to Crete type people) and civil servants (captain and crew making Crete possible and doable without running out of fuel part way there).

I admit that to newcomers the differences are not easy to perceive but exist they do.

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Unhappy

Forsooth! He returneth again!

If anything has marred and tarred the Labour admin it is too fond a reliance on civil servants.

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Clueless Tories

The Tories are clueless about this.

Let's be frank: any IT project in the NHS is likely to fail: too many organisations that work in different ways; too many people in an organisation that want different things. It's a mine field.

However, what the Tories are suggesting is not necessarily Google / MS solutions. Somehow, Cameron went out to see Google and got the impression that distributed patient records was better than the centralised approach of NPfIT. Moreover, he wants to create a 'market' within the NHS so that the 'best' solution wins.

I've seen this in the Fire Service, where you could make a fair living by re-implementing systems slightly differently for individual brigades. No centralisation meant that communications equipment in each brigade was different, the software was different and that meant lots of money for contractors and ISVs. This is despite the GD-92 communications specification, which aimed at inter-operability and meant, in principle, you could re-use the same system in different brigades; somehow, it never ended up like that, however.

What the Tories are planning is even worse. Imagine a company where if you went from one office to another you had to re-learn how to use the software that it is now essential you use to do your job. It's not just essential: lives are at risk. Well, the Tories want to create the situation. And the call it 'the market'.

Any IT project in the NHS is going to be hard. But the problem with government is that they will only deal with big contractors (EDS, eg). Smaller, more agile teams would probably solve these problems better. Software on this scale should be a living, ever-changing thing, with very small changes on a regular basis. What the big boys will produce is large, functional systems that will do what it's supposed to on paper. But not in practice.

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Grenade

A*se about face

"conform to the requirements of current NHS practice and bureaucracy: to turn it from a patient-facing system to an admin system"

Better to finally recognise that it SHOULD be a patient-centric system and revise the NHS around that paradigm. The problem with NHS IT is the lack of realisation that they are a service industry and their customers are the patients, not the doctors. Do that and you can simplify the bureaucracy significantly - and leash the docs at the same time.

We can't afford a system that costs over £100bn a year, and we can't cut that cost until the prima donnas are cut back.

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Unhappy

NHS will never be effective

Set up with 1940's management structure & paradigms (think upstairs n downstairs with consultants as demi-gods.

Wages structure = double the going rate for upstairs people and half the going rate for downstairs people (it's the Brit way to do things)

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Stop

Google will have to prize my medical....

...records from my cold, dead hand. That's the ONLY way they'll ever get their snouts anywhere near my precious, confidential data. I'm a healthcare professional in the UK, and deal with confidential medical records every day: I know precisely what's at stake here.

There is NO WAY I would allow the kind of information contained in medical case notes anywhere near an organisation like Google, who routinely ride rough-shod over individuals' rights to privacy in the pursuit of profit. The same goes for Microsoft and all other companies that see private, personal data as an opportunity to monetise individuals.

The line in the sand is right here. This NOT America, we do NOT have a crappy, fragmented, privately-run health system, and we DO have the European Convention on Human Rights.

Google - f**k off and exploit some other country's population.

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Megaphone

It's not the Civil Servants that are the problem

IT in the Government has, since Tory days, been moved away from in house

The problem is contractors, consultants and contracts with companies like Logica and Cap gemini that are th e problem.

They are more expensive than in house and don't deliver the goods

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Anonymous Coward

David Davies is a twat

Whatever you may think of his policies remember that this is the guy who forced a bye-election over something he couldn't influence* that cost the taxpayer 3 nurses** because he wanted to prove a point to people who already agreed with his point***

If David Davies told me that the sky was blue I would wonder who was paying him to promote blue and if he told me a nice cold beer was nice, cold and beerish I would want a second opinion from someone who wasn't a fucking media whore attention grabbing cunt.

I really hope labour (particularly Gordon Brown) lose the next election, and the tories are the only real option, but for all that is good in the world please don't let the inbreds of Hull re-elect David Davies, the man is a disgrace to anything and everything decent.

Oh, and I know this won't get published but it made me feel better writing it - and I stick by every word. Even the rude ones.

*This was a whip**** issue and labour had such a majority that any Tory (or LibDem) MP was just pissing in the wind by expressing a view either way.

**Typical estimates are about £60,000 which would pay for 3 nurses for a year.

***His majority was sufficient that he never risked losing the bye-election, the majority of his constituency already agreed with him so he was just being a cunt by resigning and seeking re-election. Fine if he was a labour MP (who could be argued to have influence) and fine if he resigned and didn't stand again as a matter or principle but as it was the guy took being a cuntery to whole new heights of cuntishness. Effectively he charged the taxpayer 60k plus just to prove a point that (a) we already fucking got, (b) he had no say in and (c) made him look like a cunt.

****Yes, I know the whip system is wrong, but that is how it is so we have to live with it.

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Unhappy

@Lee

If true one wonders why the Tory Party went ahead with his re-nomination.

It certainly looks as if he has all of the hallmarks of a centric mal-wisher.

Imagine he were in charge of something like treasury, defence or law .... <shudder>

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Big Brother

NHS will never be effective...AC 27th July 2009 20:20 GMT

Agreed...

This is another place where government should not be.

There is only one service that should be provided by government in regard to health, and that is the finance for people who are unable to help themselves, for reasons of unemployment, poverty or incapacity.

Using this model, our health records would be ours and nobody elses, and we could store them in whatever format we wanted, and provide them to whichever practitioner that we want to.

Government should remove its snout from our lives, and our pockets.

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Anonymous Coward

as far as i can tell

the problem with NHS IT, isn't IT related. It's that you can't implement a standard system across the board, unless everybody works in the same way across the board. The majority of the work in bringing in a system will be getting everyone to agree on what they actually want/need.

Although, from the horror stories i hear, a few basic security updates, simple steps like actually securing the network, making sure people work under their own id's, putting in a proxy to block dodgy websites, preventing the use of usb drives etc, would do a world of good.

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you are kidding??

"Google is the last company I would trust with data belonging to me"

Yes yes and this is what the entire population of the UK is saying about Labour Gov!!!!

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Paris Hilton

Sorry to say

Can't help you today....

(a) good intentions poorly delivered

or

(b) hostile intentions ruthlessly delivered?

Did I ever tell you the story about the dead miners wife approached by NotW (allegedly) and offered £5k to tell how awful her dead hubby was?

£5k to a poor strike ridden family in UK 1980's was a terribly large sum of dosh.

Had I known at the time I'd suggest she took the dosh, did what was asked of her and sold the resulting story to the People for £10k+

Shame init?

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