The following has just appeared in the UK Guardian newspaper on-line.
Delays with £12.7bn NHS software program bring it close to collapse
Department of Health locked in frantic talks to save Lorenzo, the IT package meant to revolutionise patient records
The government's ailing £12.7bn IT programme to overhaul paper-based NHS patient records in England is close to imploding, potentially triggering a deluge of legal claims against the taxpayer running into billions of pounds, which could start to emerge weeks before a general election.
The Guardian has discovered that mounting chaos and delays in installing core care records systems across the country is reaching a tipping point, with intense political pressure from Whitehall now falling on Morecambe Bay NHS Trust and a software "go-live" deadline set for the end of this month.
Morecambe Bay is intended to be the first acute trust to take a new patient administration software package called Lorenzo, which has been delayed for four years. After a string of missed deadlines, the Department of Health set a deadline of March 2010 for Lorenzo last April. "If we don't see significant progress... then we will move to a new plan for delivering infomatics in healthcare," Christine Connelly, the Department of Health's director general of IT, said at the time.
Preparatory testing at Morecambe Bay is believed to have failed some weeks ago, though iSoft, the firm behind Lorenzo, last week insisted testing was "on track" and dismissed as "media speculation" suggestions that the deadline was in jeopardy.
If Lorenzo is not running smoothly at Morecambe Bay in the next two weeks it will send financial shockwaves throughout Labour's National Programme for IT, potentially forcing profits warnings from iSoft and others. It will also be devastating for the Department of Health, which is locked in frantic contract renegotiations with contractors to keep the project alive.
Lots more here:
and also here – which provides some background.
I find this all a bit worrying since we have had a firm denial of any major problems as recently as Friday, 19th March 2010.
Interview with iSOFT Executive Chairman & CEO Gary Cohen
Sydney – Friday, 19 March 2010 – iSOFT Group Limited (ASX: ISF) – Australia's largest listed health information
technology company, today provides the opportunity to listen to an audio broadcast with Executive Chairman & CEO
Gary Cohen in a presentation titled "iSOFT reaffirms FY10 guidance".
To listen, please copy the following details into your web browser:
The presentation details are as follows:
- iSOFT reaffirms FY10 guidance - Gary Cohen, Executive Chairman & CEO
- Presented by Gary Cohen, Executive Chairman & CEO
- Thu, 18 Mar 2010 9:45am AEST
The release to the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) is here:
One can only hope that it is the imminent election in the UK that is flushing all this material out and that, in reality, all is going reasonably well.
The previous blog might give one some cause for pause. For the sake of my rather trivial superannuation I hope that is the case! I also happen to think it would be good if we could have an indigenous Health IT industry with one or two decent sized and successful players.