Are all MP's on the fiddle?
Here we go again, when water was privatised we saw all MP's who championed it getting non exec director jobs years later.
Here we see it with Blunkett.
I have long questioned the crazy spending on the NPFIT ( later renamed connecting for health) which sought to replace every single piece of clinical software in the NHS with newly written software by huge consortia . The cost of the programme was initially just under £6 billion. The initial promise was that every clinician would have access to the complete medical record which sounded good at the time although many questioned the need to replace software and baulked at the price.
The contracts were awarded to Consortia and they had subcontractors who would write the software, I remember some of these had special brochures printed without screenshots and neglected to tell health bosses that the software did not run under windows at the front end and was in the middle of being converted to an SQL platform at the back end. Was this what we were paying billions for?
Then the programme started failing to provide basic functionality of the software it was supposed to replace (some hospital Trusts said that they lost 75% of functionality and were told they would have to wait 6 years for the software to catch up).
Later the costs of the programme spiralled to a point where it was suggested it would cost between £25 billion to £32 billion and take 20 years to implement. Along the way we were told that it would not in fact deliver the information to every clinician and would become a regional system.
Staff in the NHS resisted this programme, Hospital Trusts implemented procedures to prevent all the proposed benefits of components like “Choose and Book” from working. So yes if you had a 12 week queue for treatment you could “Choose and Book” a hospital with a lower waiting time, but the Trust took all such non local referrals to special committees who looked at the time the patient would have waited in their own Trust and gave the patient the same lead time for treatment.
This is what happens when politicians try to force things through that are inoperable by hospital trusts who have a thousand other directives as well as budgets to comply with. Yet it was forced through at the highest level, i.e. MP's, one wonders why? I remember Tony Blair being asked questions about it in the House of Commons and coming out with one of his classic "what we have to understand is..." blairshit answers.
One wonders who was on the take on this programme, why else would some thing that had failed to deliver and had projected costs of a third of the total annual NHS budget was still being pushed through. There were many opportunities to bail out, the consortia had failed to meet contractual deadlines and some themselves abandoned the programme. The Commons' Public Accounts Committee published a damning report saying it was not delivering value.
There were all kinds of financial problems with consortia subcontractor Isoft which was finally sold off to Australian firm IBA Health, later Isoft was being investigated by the serious fraud office.
Ironically in Wales they had their own NPFIT but instead of replacing every piece of software they just proposed replacing those that could not export data. Needless to say the costs of the Wales programme are nominal and much easier to implement.
NPFIT has to be the biggest computer project cock ups of all time, yet MP's kept forcing it through despite all the signs and warnings. One wonders why? One wonders how many will appear as consultants or non exec directors to CSC, Accenture, Isoft, Fujitsu, BT in later years?
Surely we need some anti trust leglisation to deal with this sort of thing.