Make a clean break with NPfIT fiasco says MP

By Tony Collins

The cost to taxpayers of systems under the National Programme for IT may be up to three times the market price, says Richard Bacon, a Conservative  MP on the Public Accounts Committee.

While NPfIT was supposed to deliver complex but standardised systems at an affordable price, hospitals are spending much more with suppliers BT and CSC than by buying elsewhere, says Bacon.

“It is clear from the Department of Health’s latest answers to me that the true cost of IT systems bought under the National Programme are far higher than those of systems bought outside the Programme, quite apart from the repeated delays and quality issues that have plagued the Programme from the beginning.

 “If we are to have a genuinely open market for NHS IT systems, which is quite rightly the Government’s intention, then we must have absolute openness about their true costs. Trusts must understand, discuss and record these costs before making any future procurement decisions.

“And the Department of Health must not tie itself to buying a minimum number of systems from CSC in any new Memorandum of Understanding with the company.

 “Effective, affordable and robust IT systems are vital to the future of the NHS. We must make a clean break with the fiasco that is the National Programme if the needs of patients and clinicians and the interests of taxpayers are to be protected,” says Bacon.

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2 responses to “Make a clean break with NPfIT fiasco says MP

  1. When Sir Gus O’Donnell and Sir David Normington called in the police to investigate a mole at the Home Office and when Parliament was invaded by the police as a result, Damian Green MP was arrested on suspicion of the archaic offence, misconduct in a public office. The charges were dropped.

    But having usefully reminded us of the offence, thank you Sir Gus and Sir David, perhaps we could dust it off and give it another outing.

    Is Sir David Nicholson, Chief Executive of the NHS, guilty of misconduct in a public office? Or, another archaic offence, is he guilty of misfeasance in public office?

    It’s Christmas. And here is Richard Bacon MP trying to give Whitehall a present. He is offering Whitehall the ability to behave responsibly and with dignity, in the public interest. Will Whitehall accept this gift? Or are its arteries too clogged up with misfeasance to recognise a gift?


  2. Could not agree more..
    Have been banging this drum for some time.

    Someone with enough backbone now needs to state that enough is enough and that this is the way to move forward. Should we be threatened by the likes of CSC or BT? We should call them on it.

    If lawyers are to be engaged they should be employed in looking at the LSP contracts and how they relate to SYSCON on which they should be based. I have posted this before

    Click to access npfit_tendering_process.pdf

    Please note the following requirements in annex 1 tables

    Key Commercial Principles

    3. Service Obligations
    4. Implementation of ICRS (integrated care record service)
    5. Service Levels and service deductions
    6. subcontractors
    9. 10. and 11 !!!
    13. Authority Responsibilities and Excusing Causes
    14. General Pricing Principles !!!
    16. Intellectual Properly – get rid of CSC / BT and contract directly for support, that’s what this means
    18 Benchmarking – one would have assumed that such benchmarks were set at a minimum level which existing systems could achieve to ensure that the new systems were a step forward.
    22 Remedies for breach – was any of this was ever done with CSC?
    23. Step in Rights:
    24 Terminations Rights – could the CSC contract be terminated on the basis of sub points ii,iii,iv and v
    26 Liability – would it really cost more to cancel

    The above represent legitimate reasons for contract termination by the NHS. Get the lawyers looking at that. Then if its ok to do so terminate. Should the likes of CSC / BT get ‘upset’ simply use the purchasers prerogative and don’t buy from them in future. They are not the only mega corps in town and I am sure the likes of IBM / HP etc would be more than happy to play ball.

    PS I am associated with neither company and I would be more than happy to help ‘negotiate’ a way out of this mess.


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