Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Latest On NHS Computer Disaster- 2

We've blogged it many times, and this morning 20 IT academics have written to Computer Weekly to call for a public enquiry into the NHS' National Programme for IT (NPfIT). They say:

"Concrete, objective information about NPfIT's progress is not available to external observers. Reliable sources within NPfIT have raised concerns about the technology itself. We propose that the Health Select Committee help resolve uncertainty about NPfIT by asking the government to commission an independent technical assessment with all possible speed."

Cambridge University expert Professor Ross Anderson, one of more than 20 signatories of the letter, said it crystallised the "growing concerns felt by many people". Of course, most of the "many people" he has in mind are actually working on the project itself- the largest civilian IT project in history. They're hardly going to go on the record with anything approaching the unvarnished (see recent posts on the contortions at Accenture).

Meanwhile the National Audit Office probe continues. Another signatory, Professor Martyn Thomas, of Oxford University, says about that: “My instinct is that had they had anything good to say about NPfIT it would not have been delayed so long. In this case there has been a lot of pressure and a political timetable set by ministers from outside. There has not been enough scrutiny.”

We think he's being too harsh on the NAO, who have already signalled their report will be a stinker (see this blog).

He added: "the UK Computing Research Committee, an 80-strong expert group, had offered to help, but nobody from NPfIT had been interested in talking to them." To which the only response is 'you don't say'.

How much more of our dosh will be torched before before some semblence of sanity returns? And how much longer can the husky killer survive before being chopped up and thrown to the pack?

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