Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Supercomputer Grinds To Halt
Amid all the financial disasters it's easy to forget the government's existing public spending disasters. But make no mistake - they're still there.
This morning brings news that the £12-20bn NHS Supercomputer - the National Programme for IT - has ground to a halt.
As you know, this grandiose folly - personally ordered by Tony Blair at a Number 10 summit against the wishes of many NHS clinicians, and the biggest civilian IT project in the history of the world - has been in serious trouble ever since we started BOM. Now, according to the e-health insider website:
“It has ground to a halt. And that is not just affecting deployments that should be happening now. It will have a knock-on effect on those that are meant to be going live two or three years down the line.”
Frances Blunden, the IT policy specialist at the NHS Confederation, the body that represents NHS Trusts, says: “It is a little bit too early to pronounce the programme dead.”
She said there were “undeniable” problems, but “to say everyone is walking away from it is a bit premature, probably”.
We've blogged this fiasco many many times (see here), so its collapse comes as no real surprise. But it is a chilling reminder of how blundering government overstretch can cost us billions.
And this was conceived before the new age of Keynesianism.