900 deaths a year due to NHS computer problems – caused by unsuitable software?

My understanding is that the software used by the NHS – like that used by many government departments – is bought from large corporations that work on a “one size fits all” basis.

The problem? One size doesn’t fit all.

The simple fact, as it seems to This Writer, is that government – not just the current government, but any government – seems too willing to pay a fortune to huge corporations for off-the-shelf software that doesn’t work.

I mean, who provided the software under criticism in the article quoted below?

A much better policy would be to seek tenders from multiple software writers – including small firms – for bespoke software that actually does the job required of it.

It would be cheaper, it would be better, and above all… it would be safer.

Problems with computers could be blamed for up to 900 deaths in the NHS every year, two academics have claimed.

Computers are embedded across the NHS but many are “bad” and “low quality”, putting lives at risk they say.

From the PC that stores patient records to systems embedded in devices like MRI scanners and dialysis machines, NHS IT is “unnecessarily buggy” and “susceptible to cyber-attack”, according to Harold Thimbleby, professor of computer science at Swansea University.

Source: NHS computer problems could be to blame for ‘up to 900 deaths a year’ – Mirror Online


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10 thoughts on “900 deaths a year due to NHS computer problems – caused by unsuitable software?

  1. JohnDee

    In 2005 I worked on the NHS / BT collaboration National Program for Information Technology (NPfIT) project in Reading that crashed out after £13B was spent on an National IT system that no-one had asked for (except Tony Blair’s new ̶I̶T̶ ̶W̶h̶i̶z̶ ̶K̶i̶d̶) and no-one could get to work.

    Previously, I had worked for a company in Bangkok, Global Care Solutions, Bumrungrad Hospital, developing Hospital Information Systems (HIS) software, training and documentation, now owned by MicroSlough where UK and US consultants tried, in vain, to conflate a profit-motivated billing system in to a social care system for patient welfare.

    As Donald would say ” _’Not gonna happen’_ ” especially when about 13% more is spent on tracking and admin of the bills. Is that so hard for people to realise?

    1. JohnDee

      ” … A much better policy would be to seek tenders from multiple software writers – including small firms – for bespoke software that actually does the job required of it …”

      Exactly what I was thinking at the time. Linux was/is? the bees knees (free, secure and fast) and with other academia-based, peer reviewed, collaborative opensource software such as Apache webserver, MySQL, etc – all free, but with companies that supplied support for corporate systems that would scale and were much faster, cheaper, and more secure than MicroSlough cr*p.

      1. JohnDee

        In fact, after the fiasco, I remember the (s)torys then telling hospitals to do exactly that to ” … seek tenders from multiple software writers … ” to use whatever funds were left over from the aborted contract to buy software that the hospitals had been using or decided they wanted to use!

  2. rotzeichen

    When the country is crying out for investment the only alternative is the private sector, which knows nothing about the NHS but has a solution for everything.

    The Tories follow the classic private sector management model…. that you don’t have to know how to put the nuts and bolts together in order to manage anything, and guess why the world is collapsing around us. They usually follow it up by saying, “its all down to finance” meaning you just buy in the expertise.

    That stupid women Thatcher sold off our computer industry, which puts us in hock to these private companies that know best, we must seriously start thinking about creating our own computer manufacture and create an industry that will protect our data as well as making life easier to use them.

    The insanity of allowing foreign producers to control every aspect of our lives beggars belief and its time people in this country woke up to what is going on.

Comments are closed.