How Tony Blair's impatience and a bunch of hopeless amateurs fucked up the installation of IT in the NHS ... for ever.
The NHS IT business stratergery ... Plan A
A Freedom of Information Act request by the indefatigable Tony Collins of Computer Weekly has resulted in the publishing of detailed papers from an NHS IT meeting at Downing Street, on 18 February 2002, was attended by several Cabinet ministers, the Cabinet Secretary, representatives of IT suppliers including Microsoft UK, No. 10 policy advisers and health experts. (see below) (Pic above of confidential internal Cisco plan A - we will do all this and we will do it all in one go - why wait ?,.Cisco make routers and switches )BTW there is no Plan B.
The Department of Health promised systems would provide "seamless" care across the NHS by 2004/05 - less than half of the time now allotted to the scheme. (see below)
Now, it is clear, that Tony Blair regarded even the 2004/05 timescale as too long. Ignorant of what was involved, he asked/demanded repeatedly for it to be shortened. He wanted to be able to boast of visible benefits of NHS modernisation in time for a general election in May 2005.
To no avail , as it is now evident that all the plans discussed (but the meeting was not recorded or minuted - but who wanted to tell the Emporer there was no new suit - or that they couldn't deliver) were unrealistic and hopelessly optimistic delivery and implementation of new national systems will stagger on until at least 2013 - 8 years (Ho.Ho.Ho.) later than the timetable presented to Downing Street.
Cabinet Office solicitors have spent 3 years stonewalling Tony's FOI request because “disclosure of the information may disrupt the proper consideration of NHS IT projects in coming years” and “information as to the format of the meeting demonstrates the way in which the policy relating to NHS IT was developed and approached".
What they reveal (having been released on February 11th the day the Information Tribunal was due to meet to consider a ruling on whether they should be disclosed) is the wholly informal and casual fashion a masive and hugely costly (and at that stage uncosted) IT-based modernisation of the NHS was discussed. No minutes were taken , simply a letter from one official to another which reported some of what was said – there was no independent appraisal of the scheme.
The Department of Health’s briefing paper to Blair gave undertakings about making use in the IT programme of the NHS Modernisation Agency and the NHS University – both of which have since been dissolved.
Who was at the meeting ? - Lord Patel names the Gilty Men (and woman) who casually arranged to piss many, many millions of the taxpayers money up against the wall. For a project it increasingly appears will never, ever see the light of day.
Some of those present at the NPfIT meeting at Downing Street, February 2002:
The gullible elected politicians
The Prime Minister Tony Blair / retired - moved on
Secretary of State for Health, Alan "wifebeater" Milburn / sacked 2003 back bencher ever since to "spend more time with his family".
Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Andrew Smith / in office till May 2002 moved to Pensions then in 2004 resigned and like Milburn wanted to send more time with his family)Solid Blairite and ex ST Johns Oxford)
The ennobled and gullible
Cabinet Office Minister, Lord 'Gus' Macdonald / appointed especially to take over responsibility for overseeing how the Government delivers online services, how it awards public sector IT contracts and how new technologies are used within the civil service.Replaced Feb 2003 not been in Government since.
Health Minister, Lord Hunt / now @ Ministry of Justice
The Obedient Servants (mainly Civil)
Ed Richards, Media Policy adviser to No 10, former head of strategy at the BBC, who drew up a key political strategy for Labour’s general election campaign )CEO OFCOM salary £306 K.- It was as a media adviser to No 10 that he helped draft the Communications Act that brought Ofcom into being.
Sir Richard Wilson Cabinet Secretary / still there
Nigel Crisp NHS Chief Executive / Now Baron Crisp KCB sacked - resigned March 2006
Prof Sir John Pattison Department of Health lead director for the NHS IT programme,
Ian Walker, HM Treasury, led the civil service team which supported Sir Derek Wanless (now ex Northern Wreck Director) in his review of the long-term funding of the NHS
The self important leeches in the private office
Prime Minister’s policy adviser on health matters, Paul Corrigan /left May 2005 - author of "Shakespeare on Management"
Cabinet Office E-envoy reporting to the PM, Andrew Pinder / still in same job
Chief Executive of the Office of Government Commerce, Peter Gershon (HM Treasury announced on 22 July 1999 that the Office of Government Commerce would become the Government's centre of excellence in procurement on 3 April 2000. )
The Americans who were about to clean up on the hi-tech wizardry
Microsoft UK CEO Neil Holloway / Now Vice President Business Strategy for Microsoft International
Public Sector Healthcare, Cisco , Kevin Dean
Some people who had probably wandered in by mistake
Wendy Thomson, Chief Adviser on public service reform / Canadian left May 2005 now at McGill University)
Michael Barber, head of the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit / Left June 2005 now Sir M Barber Sept 1st 2005 joined McKinsey
Dominic Hardy, Prime Minister’s Policy Unit
SP apart from the Cabinet Secretary and the elusive Dominic Hardy everyone else has moved on... oh! Pinde is still there , fuck knows what e-Envoys do, not a lot it appears,except piss money away ... and this was how you as a patient would find this NHS dream scheme ....