NHS National Programme For IT Failed To Address Early Problem Warnings

The UK government was alerted in 2004 that prompt actions were needed for addressing issues in its ambitious £12.7 billion programme to rehaul its NHS IT programme, according to official reports.

While ministers were appreciating the development on the NHS IT scheme, preliminary Gateway reviews on the programme slammed it for inadequate planning, specifications, the approach, as well as improper engagement with clinicians.

The first initial review of the National Programme for IT (NPfIT) back in June 2002 - also referred to as Gateway Zero strategic evaluation of the scheme - further ascertains that the government 's original estimates for the “whole project cost” were around £5 billion, which overwhelmingly rose to a whopping £12.7 billion.

In addition to this, another review in October 2002 questioned the scheme for using five main suppliers, and quoted that the proposal “seems to be an assumption without justification”.

Later on, a strategic assessment in 2004 revealed that one of the big challenges against NPfIT was NHS's ruling to launch the systems without engaging with staff satisfactorily.

Conclusively, of the 31 reviews put forth by the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), in a noteworthy Freedom of Information (FoI) decision, nine required prompted action and offered the “red-status” to the project.

Another 19 out of the 31 reviews received the amber status, implying that the projects could proceed while taking the OGC's recommendations seriously.

Our Comments

The NPfIT has been nothing short of a shambles. One of the world's most expensive civilian projects ever was supposed to bring some order to the fourth biggest organisation in the world with a budget for 2009 of £94 billion. As for the programme itself, the total cost is likely to be significantly more than the £12.7 billion originally earmarked.

Related Links

Early warning failed to put NHS IT back on track

(ZDNet)

Internal reports reveal NPfIT flawed at its launch

(Computer Weekly)

NHS Gateway Reviews damn £13bn IT decisions

(Computerworld)

NPfIT failed nine Gateway Reviews

(PublicService)