Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The National Programme for IT - "Gateway Reviews"

... otherwise known as "Connecting for Health" is the UK government's to produce one huge database of its citizens' healthcare ranging from booking an appointment with your family doctor to prescribing medication to keeping your medical records to ...

It has been widely critisised - by NHS staff, by the wider IT community, by politicians etc etc. Data security, contracting issues, technology, deadlines, training, consultation ... the list goes on.

The state treasury's Office of Government Commerce (OGC) has undertaken reviews of the project's status since its inception in 2002. These reports, known as Gateway Reviews have remained confidential, out of the public and media's eyes.

The magazine Computer Weekly submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for these reviews to be published in public. Thirty one reports were published last week. Computer Weekly has a summary.

In 2005 responsibility for the project was passed from the Department of Health to five mega-conglomerates of regional Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs) The North West and West Midlands Cluster (NWWM) consists of six SHAs.

The Gateway Reviews highlight outstanding issues as with traffic lights - red, amber, green. In the NWWM Cluster of nine recommendations, one is green, five are amber and three are red.

The review was made in 2005.

The original project was budgeted at ₤5 billion - it is now ₤12 billion.

The head of IT at the Department of Health has stated that if no radical progress is made by November 2009, a radical "shake-up" will be necessary.

The NWWM Gateway Review of 2005 expected a further review for early 2006 - it was not published (or not done?). I have submitted a FOIA request to the OGC about this.

My previous FOIA request regarding how much Microsoft was earning from this project was rejected.

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