Better Late or Simply Late?

I shouldn’t say “I told you so” but Silicon reports that the rollout of the NHS' £64m electronic 'Choose and Book' appointment booking system is a year behind schedule.

The e-booking system is a key part of the £6.2bn NHS IT programme and will allow patients to choose from at least four hospitals when booking an outpatient appointment through their GP surgery.

The government had pledged to offer patients the e-booking service by 1 January 2006 but NHS chief executive Sir Nigel Crisp told MPs at a Public Accounts Committee (PAC) hearing this week that while patients will still be able to choose which hospital they go to most appointments will have to be booked manually by GPs.

You may recall the TV comedy catch by Bremner, Bird and Fortune over the National Programme for IT (NPfIT) or even the report, “Computerising the Chinese Army” published by the Conservative Technology Forum.  Anyway, it’s late and everyone, except perhaps the politicians, realised, that like ID cards, NPfIT is shot full of holes that make delivery against its targets at best awkward and at worst close to impossible.

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