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UK Health Program: a Very Sick Patient

The National Health Service is in the middle of a massive ”£12bn IT programme designed to keep electronic records of 30 million NHS patients throughout the UK.” This program has been ongoing since 2002 and has been called the greatest IT disaster in history.
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Written by Michael Krigsman, Contributor on

The National Health Service is in the middle of a massive ”£12bn IT programme designed to keep electronic records of 30 million NHS patients throughout the UK.” This program has been ongoing since 2002 and has been called the greatest IT disaster in history.

Here are the latest developments:

  • iSoft, a key software contributor, has been cited forapparent irregularities in its accounts.”
  • iSoft has also been cited in a review because the“issue of clinical safety under the current Isoft system as a ‘red’ problem. [The review] notes the firm has appointed a director of clinical safety in response to the concerns, but that he could not ‘articulate the time frames for establishing a clinical safety team given the current financial climate within Isoft’ - a reference to the company’s financial problems which have caused its share price to collapse.”
  • Accenture, a key contractor on the project, is prepared to resign. According to one analyst: ‘In essence, what Accenture is saying is “we want compensation because this thing isn’t going to plan, and it’s costing us a bomb.”
  • Apparently, the National Audit Office covered-up problems to make the program appear less disastrous.

It’s interesting to note that the inspiration for this program arose in 2001, after Bill Gates met Tony Blair: “Mr Gates, the billionaire software pioneer, had just written a book about how IT could transform economies. The prime minister, determined to reform Britain’s public services, was hooked.”

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