The UK Chancellor is expected to massively scale back the world’s largest IT project, in a desperate effort to save money.
For the past five years, I have believed that the NPfIT has been the poster child for the Trillion Dollar Bonfire – as a poorly conceived, massively flawed and consequently expensive programme.
Why do I believe that?
Well, notwithstanding that the NHS programme for IT has probably been forecast for a while to run five times over the original cost and take three times longer to deliver, the programme appeared to be handled from the outset simply as just “the world’s biggest IT project.”
But despite the hubris and posturing, there was no visible evidence of a credible systems approach to one of the world’s most complex systems: the National Health Service (NHS).
This was one of the clearest examples ever of an attitude that claimed IT was the solution, long before the challenges were considered – let alone understood.
And yet, billions later and years late, the government now appears ready to sound the death knell for NPfIT.
I have been following this fiasco for five or six years and I don’t expect for one moment that the ‘frustrated’ vendors will walk away empty-handed if Alastair Darling does suspend large chunks of NPfIT in his forthcoming pre-budget statement on December 9th.
There will be poison-pill clauses in the contracts, which means that, once again, the NHS will pay dearly for undelivered value and political naivete.