Is the government throwing the IT baby out with the bath water?

Dell’s Public Sector Services EMEA Vice President Ferenc Szelenyi, gives us view on the UK government’s decision to make swingeing cuts to projects.

He says the government risks losing some of the good things that have been acheived through IT in the public sector if it makes indescriminate cuts.

Ferenc is a regular contributor to this blog and I welcome comment nand articles from all corners of the IT sector, whether user or supplier.

Here is his post:

“In response to the new Government’s 10 IT reforms, it is my view that the coalition should take a second look at its move to centralise the current NHS agenda. It seems that as a result of the centralisation, the national programme for IT is likely to be put on hold. Now maybe it’s just me, but the words baby, bathwater and throwing out immediately spring to mind.
The truth is that a large part of the national programme has delivered on time and has had a lot of success, especially in the N3 network. Don’t get me wrong, a lot more could and should be done, as the UK healthcare sector is at least 10 years behind the financial sector in its thinking about technology. However, I am afraid to say that these latest reforms pose more questions than answers.
Healthcare is a prime example of a sector that is always being asked to fulfill the escalating needs of the patient, not to mention having to comply with ever-changing regulations. These latest reforms to put the programme on the ‘back burner’ could potentially increase headaches such as increased waiting list times. 
In light of this, all NHS trusts should look to grow with the rapidly-developing technology in order to survive in the exceedingly competitive market. One possible way is for the industry/sector to adopt IT outsourcing. As the healthcare industry has to continually deal with mission-critical information, highly sensitive data and high network connectivity, the challenges could be outsourced to a specialist services provider which could offer greater expertise and at less cost. For example, service providers are better placed than government bodies to transfer paper to electronic records, having already made the investment in the required technical equipment, training and skills.

Service providers from across the globe can also implement and manage functions such as electronic billing records, medical billing, transaction processing, document management, integration of existing back end systems with highly new and advanced tools. Unfortunately, this is expertise that the public sector alone simply does not have. 
In conclusion, the re-commissioning of ineffective services must stop and the elected government must look to service providers to do things differently. However, it is also clear that despite these latest reforms, service providers can assist in and add value to the administration of public sector IT projects.”

See also an alternative view in this blog post.