Media Commentary on our NHS IT Info Dossier

From Nhs It Info


Compute this (12 Oct 2006)

Daniel Finkelstein's Rolling Guide to the Best Opinion on the Web, Times Online

"NHS 23 is a fascinating and horrifying site. It provides an account of the repeated warnings given to Parliament by 23 of the UK's most respected IT academics about the multi-billion pound NHS computer project. They basically warned from the beginning that a fiasco loomed. Take this: "As experts in complex systems, we are concerned that the NHS National Program for IT (NPfIT) is starting to show many of the symptoms displayed by large IT and business change projects that have failed in the past. We have a wide range of IT backgrounds and experience, and have studied many failed projects, as well as many that succeeded. Our professional opinion is that a constructive, independent review is urgently needed." It was written to the Commons' Health Committee in May 2004. Last week, they had to send the same letter again. Anyway, you can pretty much stop anywhere on the site and read about an unfolding multi-billion pound scandal."

Academics set up wiki to monitor NHS IT (18 Oct 2006)

e-Health Insider

"The 23 academics who wrote to Parliament outlining their concerns about the progress of the National Programme for IT have set-up a wiki to track media reports and act as a resource for NHS IT. The NHS 23 wiki, available at, features links to articles tracking problems with various suppliers and coverage of the academics' open letter and the agreed statement. It was developed over the past few months as a resource and reference tool for those interested in the progress of National Programme for IT (NPfIT). Ross Anderson, professor of security engineering at the Computer Laboratory at the University of Cambridge and one of the 23 academics, told E-Health Insider: "This is something that we have developed for our own use over the last few months. We have finally decided to make it publicly visible." The wiki contains links to articles by E-Health Insider and other publications collected under themes, as well as primary sources such as relevant official records of Parliament, NPfIT specifications and policies and reports relating to the National Audit Office and Public Accounts Committee investigations. . . The wiki seeks to clarify the academics' own position on the progress of CfH and the call for a review. According to Professor Anderson, the agreement which CfH and the experts arrived at in the meeting that followed their letter was posted on the agency's site with a small but crucial omission, which he argues changed the meaning. After the first edit, Anderson explained that the agreement was once again altered and republished at a later, unknown date. The academics' wiki contains all three versions of the statement including the one that they say was the original agreed by the two parties. Professor Anderson stressed that the wiki was intended to be a reference point and not a campaigning platform, and was similar to the links and articles posted on the Foundation for Information Policy Research site. . ."

Main Page - Nhs It Info (19 Oct 2006)


"This site (set up as a wiki but without public editing rights) has been created by the 23 academics who wrote to Parliament outlining their concerns about the progress of the National Programme for IT, under the banner of NHS 23. It provides a access to a range of documents relating to the NHS NPfIT. These range from the original and subsequent letters addressed to the House of Commons Health Select Committee to media items and documents detailing supplier issues. The site does provide some useful insights and promises to offer more - but it might be worthwhile enabling some degree of public editing rights. Although I'm sure there would be some vandalism - the potential benefit of mobilising "group think" or a "community of practice" would outweigh the risks."

University scientists share their dossier on NPfIT concerns (23 Oct 2006)

British Journal of Healthcare Computing & Information Management

"NHS 23 wiki ( ) is a dossier of documents, reports, letters and press coverage about concerns with the direction and progress of England's National Programme for IT in the NHS. It is compiled by the group of 23 computer scientists from universities in the UK urging the Government to undertake an independent and detailed technical review of the NPfIT, originally for their own reference but now available to general readership. (A 'wiki' is a collation of information about a particular subject published on a dedicated website for reference. It can be added to, updated and edited, either by any visitor to the site or, as in this case, only by specified contributors.)"

The new 100 most useful sites (21 Dec 2006)

The Guardian,,1975939,00.html

". . . Politics: The MySociety team remains unbeatable for turning Hansard inside out with Theyworkforyou and Publicwhip, but bloggers have begun to expose the unwritten workings of politicians to greater public scrutiny too. Guido Fawkes' blog has the inside gossip from Westminster, while NO2ID agitates on arguably the most important political and technological issue around, while NHS 23 is a wiki outlining the problems with the political, technological and medical drama of the NHS computerisation programme. . ."

Academics express NPfIT concerns (23 Jan 2007)

Kable's Government Computing

"A group of academics have issued a 'dossier of concerns' called for a technical review of the NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT). Brian Randell, Emeritus professor of Computing Science at Newcastle University, told GC News on 22 January 2007 that the 200 page dossier containing "everything said about the NPfIT over the last few years" will help Parliament's Health Select Committee with its pending inquiry. The committee is due to start its inquiry into the progress of the NPfIT this month, Randell said, and the dossier, containing a selection of media reports, select committee responses and supplier issues from the past few years, is to be used as an "encyclopaedia" of concerns. However, the 23 academics' ultimate campaign is for the government to instigate a wider review of the programme's objectives, technical architecture and implementation. Randell said: "We are pleased that the committee has recently stated that our dossier will prove helpful in their planned inquiry, as well as to the detailed technical review, which we hope will ensue." The dossier states: "It (the dossier) brings together a host of evidence, covering a very wide range of issues that in combination suggest the project is in serious trouble. Given the scale of the project, one of the largest ever attempted…reinforces the need for a careful, open, honest and independent examination of the situation." The dossier follows the released late last year of the British Computer Society Health Informatics Forum (BCS HIF) report, The Way Forward for NHS Health Informatics. It acknowledges the successes of the programme, but says Connecting for Health has placed too much emphasis on central decision making. Its forward refers to the "top down nature" of the programme and lack of local ownership, and says this is one reason why many NHS staff have yet to see its potential for positive change. The Department of Health is reportedly holding a meeting on 26 January 2007 to discuss, among other things, the progression of the programme."

(Repeated on the Register, under the title "Academics compile 'encyclopaedia of concerns' about NPfIT" at

Academics air 'concerns' over NPfIT (24 Jan 2007)

Computer Weekly

"A group of academics have published a “dossier of concerns” about the NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT) and have called for a technical review of the programme. The NPfIT has run into a variety of problems over the last two years and leading suppliers to the programme, such as Accenture, have pulled out from the project or others, like BT, have got behind in their contracted work. Brian Randell, Emeritus professor of Computing Science at Newcastle University, has led the dossier initiative, and was among the academics who first expressed their concerns as a group about the NPfIT last year. The dossier is designed to help Parliament's Health Select Committee with its pending inquiry on the NPfIT project. This inquiry is expected to start later this month. The 212 page dossier includes a variety of media reports on the NPfIT - including a number from Computer Weekly - and information on supplier issues from recent years. The academics wider aim is to instigate a review of the programme’s objectives and implementation."

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