Which idiot decided – or implemented – this?

Blood donors are being turned away as a new NHS online booking system causes chaos, an investigation today reveals.

Health chiefs scrapped “bloodmobiles”, which used to visit high streets and workplaces, in 2017 and switched to an appointment-only model which does not allow “walk in” visits.

And anyone got the skinny on why the new system is so crap?

21 comments on “Which idiot decided – or implemented – this?

  1. It’s a government IT system. It’s going to cost £billions, yet never work the way the people actally paying for it want.

    Actually, that could describe all of government, not just IT!

  2. Must be good news.
    If they’ve changed models like this so they are turning away walk-in donors, then they must have more than enough from the appointments alone.

    Otherwise they wouldn’t be foolish enough to do something like this… right?

  3. Health chiefs scrapped “bloodmobiles”, which used to visit high streets and workplaces, in 2017 and switched to an appointment-only model which does not allow “walk in” visits.

    Classic producer-led system – keep the actual ‘customers’ at arms-length as much as you can, further if possible, so you can get on with the job of…well, just being employed, I suppose.

  4. What Rob said.

    Plus those vehicles reminded people that the requirement was still there, reminded irregulars and attracted impulse donations which may turn out to be regulars.

    What’s the betting that in 10 years we’ll be told there’s a dwindling number of regular donors and major spending campaigns to get people to donate.

  5. When i worked in London it was only possible to donate blood weekdays 10-12 and 2-4.

    90% of the nurses/technicians were women aged 30-50 presumably working part time around childcare responsibilities. And they need a 2 hour lunch break…

  6. There used to be doning sessions in our village hall three times a year – always very well attended (RAF HQ is a mile down the road, so there were lots of service personnel). They’ve ceased doing this and instead are using a football stadium the other side of the nearest town, where the traffic congestion varies from bad to dreadful. Needless to say, I no longer donate.

  7. Classic government organisation tactics – take a system thats working OK, ‘re-organise’ it (probably because there’s far too many people employed to be justified by the actual work, so they’ve got to invent ways of justifying their own existence) so that it no longer functions properly and creates a crisis, then demand lots more ‘resources’ to fix the problem that they have created.

    Whereas the correct response would be to sack at least 50% of the management, and tell the remainder to solve the problem or they’re next.

  8. I used to donate from my workplace. They provided transport to the church hall they were using, a cup of tea and biccie afterwards then transport back to the office.

    The arrangement with transport stopped and no one would take their car off site as would lose their space – next nearest parking better part of a mile away.
    So massive decline in daytime donations.

  9. And, now, if the nurse punctures a vein, she is no longer able to take the donation from the other arm.

  10. It’s run by bureaucrats who never just go with the 97% complete off-the-shelf solution.

    Funnily enough, I did some work on a leisure booking system for a local authority a few years ago, and that worked out great, because local authorities tend to be more pragmatic about IT. They bought an off-the-shelf package, got me to do some styling , ran some tests and put it live.

    Central government has lots of people *writing* the rules of their software. And when you do that, in detail, rather than just looking at what’s out there and asking if it does what you need, you then are into custom building. And apart from the fact that’s serious money spending, you get more bugs. Use some software 100 companies are already using, the supplier has already ironed out the bugs. If any one of those companies finds a bug, the supplier fixes it for all of you.

  11. They also used to park up on campus, which stuck me as the ideal way to get people to start donating. That’s been chopped too.

  12. BoM4,

    As an outsider looking in all large Govt projects get Prince 2’d to death. More Prince 2 practitioners than subject matter experts seems to be the norm.

    It then becomes a Prince 2 project rather than an IT project.

  13. BiND, once you bring in Prince 2 bods you’ve already decided to roll your own. I’m sure you’re right, but it’s already doomed, for all the reasons BoM4 gave.

    I suspect it’s the scale that’s too tempting. So many licenses, the purchasers think they can afford custom, and the dev shops all think they’ll be coining it enough to pay for the inevitable overrun.

  14. BiND,

    I’m not against PRINCE 2, and there’s really nothing wrong with the idea of consistent process. The problem is that this has become The Project Management Qualification in some quarters. And I suspect more than anything it allows someone hiring a PM to cover their arse when things go wrong. “Why did you hire this idiot” “He seemed good. He had a PRINCE 2 qualification”. “Oh, OK”.

    But it’s notable that I haven’t seen it cared about in the private sector in 20 years.

  15. Been an IT contractor for 20 years (private sector only, won’t touch public sector), and this is the first time I’d ever heard of PRINCE 2.

  16. @Bloke in Wales June 15, 2019 at 5:40 pm

    iirc Prince and SSADM were created by LBMS in 1980s

    both were process driven rather than data driven (as used by private sector)

  17. Have seen people with management roles in completely non-IT-related parts of the public sector grouch about being forced to do PRINCE2 to show they are capable of running projects/teams. I don’t think I have ever heard someone have a good word for it, but that doesn’t seem to mean it is on the way out either.

  18. To pass PMI I think you actually have to know about project management.

    I’m a PRINCE2 Practitioner but have never managed a large project. I just needed it on my CV so put myself on a course.

    A friend of mine, who was a real PM did both and didn’t rate PRINCE2 at all. He thought it might work for IT but he did big military infrastructure projects which were a different beast altogether.

    My overall impression of PRINCE2 was that money and resources were not really considerations. If either were being burned through then the solution was to go to the project sponsor and ask for more. Typical government attitude really. They should have suggested doing it in March so the budget gets used up and it’s bigger in the following year.

  19. I’m a regular donor and my experiences of the online booking system as an IT system have been fine. It’s GUI is ok, it’s easy to navigate and you can search dates and locations of donor sessions easily enough. They also do nice little text reminders and thank you messages. However the removal of the blood mobiles has been a pain, limiting good locations. Also, as others say, you have to book appointments months in advance to get a slot at a location you want.

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