There are lessons in the report for all policymakers. As the failure of the NHS private finance scheme has also shown, the government is an inept purchaser of private services: indecisive, ponderous, overambitious and wasteful. Mass centralisation does not reduce costs, but it kills flexibility. Under the national scheme, NHS professionals were given expensive systems with little discussion of what would actually help them do their jobs. The project was carried along by the momentum of its scale and the sense that having spent so much it would be wrong to pull out (pressures that have also wrecked the defence budget, as a report from the defence select committee reminded people on Wednesday).
Government just can\’t do these big projects. So let\’s not have government trying to do these big projects then, eh?
Of course, it\’s entirely possible that no one can do these big projects. Which rather means that we shouldn\’t be trying to do these big projects.
It was the Yorkshire Ranter who pointed out a few years ago that (I hope I\’ve got this right) there is actually an open source standard that can be used to do this. Developed by some American medics.
All that\’s really required is to insist that, as and when medical records are electronicfied, that they accord with this standard. Good, now we\’ve got the interface determined, you can build whatever local hospital or GP surgery system you like.
In much the same way that you can interrogate the internet from a phone, PC, Apple…….