It’s OK, we are only 450% over budget – PR Week Post #22

In our business, we are all looking for new, creative and practical ways to communicate with our healthcare professional partners in the NHS.
Over the five years or so, the internet has developed in such a way that we are now able to deliver tailored, media rich, communications directly to individuals’ desktops containing content they have specifically requested. There is however a hitch…

The capability to harness such technology is only as good as the end user’s infrastructure. High-speed connectivity, computers with the right internet browsers and associated software are the key to allow – along with e-patient records and e-bookings – charities, other government departments and the pharmaceutical industry to deliver educational platforms and programmes they have developed for the improvement of patient care.

I hear you all saying: “Yes, we know this – that’s what the Connecting for Healthprogramme is doing. Why are you telling me today?”

Well, it is because the Taxpayers’ Alliance has just published it’s Out of Control report which  tells us that (like most of the Government’s other capital expenditure programmes) the National Programme for NHS IT (NPfIT) is now running over budget.  OK, so things are always running over but by how much?  The answer is…over 450%. But it doesn’t end there.  Some estimates are saying this could rise to 770%.  How can a project originally estimated to cost £2.3bn end up costing £20bn?  Surely a project was specifically designed to improve care should not be further contributing to the thinning of the NHS’s already completely threadbare purse.

Where on earth do we go from here?


A bottle a day keeps the cardiologist away (but only for men) – PR Week Post #21

(Click here for the original post on PR Week)

First an apology to those who read the PRWeek blogs on a regular basis for my absence over the last month or so.  My only real excuse is that when something right for my blog has popped into my head, I have been nowhere near my PC and by the time I return, it was yesterday’s news.  I feel victimised by the rapidity of online news proliferation.

Anyway, if you were/are a reasonably regular reader of my blog, you will see that alcohol is a common theme.  Exactly what that says about me is another matter (feel free to comment though) but why does alcohol really feature so often in my ramblings?  Well, it’s because I like to comment on what’s makes it into the news most frequently and the media write about it an awful lot. 60,000+ stories the past month on Google Health News alone. I find that incredible.

So why comment today?  Well, it was the 100+ stories originating from new research published in theHeart journal which caught my eye.  This study demonstrated that drinking at high levels [4-12 units a day] offers men (not women) protection from heart disease.  In the same sentence of the Press Association’s release, this information was followed by “… but health experts warned this could damage other organs and cause premature death.”  What does this story possibly tell us?  It doesn’t seem to be about moderation or about caution either.  I am lost.

Well, I suppose the PA article wraps it up nicely: “Robert Sutton, professor of surgery at the University of Liverpool, said the finding that there was no relationship between alcohol and heart disease in women was “highly unusual” and suggested the need for more research.”  Ladies and gentleman, drink carefully care over the festive season. You may just be the subject of some new research…