Each NPfIT contract for the local service providers is nearly one metre high with the schedules and appendices.
Clearly the national programme has been good for some (loggers) even if it hasn’t been welcomed so enthusiastically by some hospital boards. When Tony Blair, a former barrister, personally approved the NPfIT perhaps he subconsciously had in mind the real beneficiaries.
PS The amount spent on lawyers’ fees since the inception of the National Programme in 2002 to 30 November 2006 was £31.5m. That was before the year-long negotiations over Fujitsu’s contract re-set, the termination of its contract and the continuing talks with BT to take over Fujitsu’s work in the south of England. And negotiations have been continuing for about nine months over CSC’s contract re-set, much longer than expected.
PSS On a lighter note, one of the most astute of all commentators on legal matters was Jonathan Swift. He best summed up the practice of going to law when he wrote in Gulliver’s Travels that if someone wants to take your cow, going to law to get it back will have little to do with the fact that you own the cow:
“If my neighbour has a mind to my cow, he hires a lawyer to prove that he ought to have my cow from me. I must then hire another to defend my right; it being against all Rules of Law that any man should be allowed to speak for himself.
“Now in this case, I, who am the true owner, lie under two great disadvantages. First, my lawyer being practiced almost from his cradle in defending falsehood, is quite out of his element when he would be an advocate for justice, which, as an office unnatural, he always attempts with great awkwardness, if not with ill-will.
“The second disadvantage is that my lawyer must proceed with great caution: or else he will be reprimanded by the judges, and abhorred by his brethren, as one who would lessen the Practice of the Law.
“And therefore I have but two methods to preserve my cow. The first is, to gain over my adversary’s lawyer with a double fee; who will then betray his client, by insinuating that he has justice on his side. The second way is for my lawyer to make my cause appear as unjust as he can; by allowing the cow to belong to my adversary; and this if it be skilfully done, will certainly bespeak the Favour of the Bench.”
“In pleading, they studiously avoid entering into the merits of the cause; but are loud, violent and tedious in dwelling upon all circumstances which are not to the purpose. For instance, in the case already mentioned, they never desire to know what claim or Title my adversary has to my cow; but whether the said cow were red or black; her horns long or short; whether the field I graze her in be round or square; whether she were milked at home or abroad; what diseases she is subject to, and the like. After which they consult Precedents, adjourn the cause … and in ten, twenty, or thirty years come to a [decision].
“It is likewise to be observed, that this society has a peculiar cant and jargon of their own, that no other mortal can understand, and wherein all their laws are written, which they take special care to multiply; whereby they have wholly confounded the very essence of truth and falsehood, of right and wrong; so that it will take thirty years to decide whether the field, left me by my ancestors for six generations, belong to me, or to a stranger three hundred miles off.”
PSSS: Many hospital trusts have not even seen the NPfIT contracts that have been signed on their behalf by the Department of Health.