The National Programme for IT's expensive new bosses

April 24, 2008 6:25 PM

We've already responded to the story that two new bosses for the failing National Programme for IT are going to be appointed at a cost of nearly half a million pounds a year in salaries alone, from the Telegraph report:

"Matthew Elliot, the chief executive of The TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "The direct, centralised management of the NHS is a massive task that no individual can seriously manage, and that flawed structure has undoubtedly contributed to the disastrous mismanagement of large-scale NHS projects.


"Centralisation has created a behemoth that is simply unmanageable - and patients and taxpayers are paying the price.""

The NHS is so large, centralised and full of quangoes that it is essentially unmanageable.  The unmanageable NHS has given birth to a monster of an unmanageable project; the NPfIT.  Thought to be the largest IT project in the world and coming in at a mighty £12.4 billion (up from £2.3 billion when the project was being sold, as set out in our report (PDF) on big government projects).  Despite all that money, only 9 per cent of doctors are optimistic about the programme's potential to improve the NHS and Foundation Trusts have serious concerns about its functionality.


The signs are not good that these new staff will improve things:

"One individual is responsible and accoun-table for the vision, linking with policy, and also the strategic leadership, and one is focused working in partnership with the NHS in the delivery of [IT] programmes."

A lot of the problems with the NPfIT are rooted in the fact that the structure was imposed from the top-down and didn't really address the needs of doctors.  In that context, is splitting the "vision" and "partnership" roles into different jobs really the best idea?

We've already responded to the story that two new bosses for the failing National Programme for IT are going to be appointed at a cost of nearly half a million pounds a year in salaries alone, from the Telegraph report:

"Matthew Elliot, the chief executive of The TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "The direct, centralised management of the NHS is a massive task that no individual can seriously manage, and that flawed structure has undoubtedly contributed to the disastrous mismanagement of large-scale NHS projects.


"Centralisation has created a behemoth that is simply unmanageable - and patients and taxpayers are paying the price.""

The NHS is so large, centralised and full of quangoes that it is essentially unmanageable.  The unmanageable NHS has given birth to a monster of an unmanageable project; the NPfIT.  Thought to be the largest IT project in the world and coming in at a mighty £12.4 billion (up from £2.3 billion when the project was being sold, as set out in our report (PDF) on big government projects).  Despite all that money, only 9 per cent of doctors are optimistic about the programme's potential to improve the NHS and Foundation Trusts have serious concerns about its functionality.


The signs are not good that these new staff will improve things:

"One individual is responsible and accoun-table for the vision, linking with policy, and also the strategic leadership, and one is focused working in partnership with the NHS in the delivery of [IT] programmes."

A lot of the problems with the NPfIT are rooted in the fact that the structure was imposed from the top-down and didn't really address the needs of doctors.  In that context, is splitting the "vision" and "partnership" roles into different jobs really the best idea?

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