Friday, March 30, 2007

'High Quality Enabler' Seeks New Brain

Are you sure this thing's a healthcare expert?

Failed chip shop manager David Nicholson has been studying his copy of Teach Yourself ManagementSpeak. And he's found a new way to describe the doomed NHS "supercomputer". Apparently, it's “not fundamentally an IT programme, but a high quality enabler that will improve the way the NHS system operates."

Pretty straightforward stuff, so why on earth can't his dim NHS operatives grasp it? They obviously need to have it spelled out even more slowly:

“It is important that we do not just push the new structure of NPfIT onto healthcare staff, but we should try to ensure that those who use it understand its benefits and what the eventual scale of the project will be and bring this to them when it is completed. The overall benefit being [that] it will ensure that the right people are being seen at the right place by staff who are guaranteed to have the right way of thinking. It will have an enormous impact.”

Oh. Now we see.

But isn't there still a slight problemette? Not to put too fine a point on it, the thing doesn't actually work.

Ah, well, there's a new plan to deal with that minor technical hitch:

"NHS bosses charged with delivering the much-delayed IT upgrade to health trusts throughout England have launched a £100m-plus drive for "additional" IT suppliers to meet "immediate business needs". The decision... is a significant move away from the troubled NPfIT, which has been running for four years, mired in delays and software setbacks."

So that's another £100m blown on a desperate attempt to rustle up a brain that might actually work.

Meanwhile Mr Chipshop says:

“We are moving from a top-down monolithic system to a much more market-oriented system. It will completely change the relationship between patients and those who treat them and move the treatment of patients from purely the secondary acute sector to a more community oriented approach, revolving around primary care services.”

So this top-down-one-size-fits-all-biggest-most-expensive-IT-project-in-the-history-of-the-world, is actually a high quality enabler that will evolve us from our swampy pre-historic world of top-down monolithic healthcare to a new sunlit world of small furry mammals living in happy communities of tool-wielding nut gatherers.

Is it.

As a child I read a book about dinosaurs. One sentence has stayed with me:

"The dinosaur had a very small brain; it was so small, the giant reptile was only dimly aware it was alive."

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