Not Saussure

February 13, 2007

NHS IT system problems

Filed under: Uncategorized — notsaussure @ 11:21 am

As Tim Worstall suggests, it’s perhaps no great surprise that

Labour’s multi-billion- pound project to create the NHS’s first ever national computer system “isn’t working and isn’t going to work”, a senior insider has warned.

though it’s maybe unusual that a top executive at one of the system’s main suppliers should be so frank.

The reason he gives for the project’s problems — that you can’t necessarily take something that works on a small project and scale it up to work on an enormous one — is not without its implications to ID cards, to my mind; his final point about politicians’ and civil servants’ very dangerous tendency to say, ‘We’re getting in a new IT system; that’ll fix it’ when confronted with any problem is also very sound:

“What we are trying to do is run an enormous programme with the techniques that we are absolutely familiar with for running small projects. And it isn’t working. And it isn’t going to work,” he told his audience.

“Unless we do some serious thinking about that — about the challenges of scale and how you scale up to an appropriate size — then I think we’re out on a limb.”

Mr Rollerson added: “There is a belief that the national programme is somehow going to propel transformation in the NHS simply by delivering an IT system. Nothing could be further from the truth. A vacuum, a chasm, is opening up.”

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1 Comment »

  1. …you can’t necessarily take something that works on a small project and scale it up to work on an enormous one — is not without its implications to ID cards…

    Precisely the point.

    Comment by james higham — February 13, 2007 @ 8:42 pm


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