NHS IT director general Richard Granger announced he is to quit the post later this year after five years in charge of the world's biggest civilian IT project — the £12.4bn national NHS IT programme.
Always outspoken and usually aiming his often barbed comments at failing suppliers and critics in the press, we round up his 10 best quotes here.
- "We have seen big cuts in the prices for electronic patient records, for servers and for other infrastructure. We now need to see the same for picture archiving systems. If we don't get that, we will subject the suppliers to radical surgery." — In an interview with the Financial Times in 2004.
- "I have worked 60 to 80 hours most weeks for fast approaching four years. I haven't seen my wife and I have three children whom I hardly ever see. There will come a time where the job is better done by somebody else." — In an interview with ZDNet.co.uk's sister site silicon.com in 2006.
- "They are, and better they are than taxpayers." — When asked by MPs at a Public Accounts Committee meeting in 2006 if some suppliers, such as Accenture and iSoft, were "showing the strain" of the financial burden of the NHS IT contracts.
- "Tens of thousands of people every year have adverse clinical effects as a consequence of keystroke error. This is killing thousands of people every year in this country. We have this target about electronic prescriptions. Maybe we should have a target about how many people didn't get killed." — Speaking at a silicon.com public sector briefing in 2005.
- "I don't have sloping shoulders. I'm more than content to be held responsible for the things that I can do something about, even the many things for which I wasn't originally responsible. The bigger context is that it is a 10-year programme to put digital infrastructure in place for a massive, diverse, heterogeneous organisation that is itself changing while this is being implemented. I think we get a bit obsessed with short-term targets." — In an interview with silicon.com in 2006.
- "One of the things I find repugnant is this continuous charge of secrecy. I don't know any public-sector programme that has been as open as us." — Speaking at the Government UK IT Summit 2004.
- "If suppliers cannot do the job, they will be replaced." — In an interview with the Financial Times in March 2005.
- "We've got a target that this has to be 100 percent electronic and 100 percent booked. It's a stupid target and I'm sure many people in this room are burdened by stupid targets." — Speaking at a silicon.com public sector briefing in 2005.
- "We have punched the bottom out of pricing arrangements that have previously been suffered by the NHS and the wider public sector." — Speaking about an NHS deal with Novell aimed at saving £75m a year.
- "We always need to be careful to think about the alternative. Is the alternative to do nothing? That didn't seem satisfactory to most people because they want to see a modern NHS. Was the alternative to send the money out on a trust-by-trust basis? Well, I'm sorry — that's what we've been doing for 12 years and we can measure the progress on that." — In an interview with silicon.com in 2006.