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


November 20, 2009

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?