Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Safe in their hands?

Yet more problems for the NHS records system.

The full extent of the financial difficulties facing the company at the heart of the NHS's £6.2bn computer upgrade will be revealed later this week. The troubled software company iSoft must release twice-delayed financial results to the stock market by Friday or trading in its shares will be suspended.

The company's results are expected to show a dramatic downward reassessment of its profitability. A series of highly unusual accounting practices appears to be behind much of the company's initial financial success.

...The next generation of the group's software, which is being developed in India, is earmarked to cover 60% of Britain's GP practices, hospitals and other NHS trusts. It is to be used by about 600,000 clinicians and managers looking after up to 30 million patients.

The NHS's computer upgrade programme, one of the world's biggest IT projects, is already said to be more than two years behind schedule. The collapse of iSoft would paralyse the programme.

We'll resist making the predictable comment, but here's an idea of what it might be.


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