Officials nervous over Morecambe Bay's planned go-live

NHS staff and executives at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust are planning for an important go-live of iSoft’s Lorenzo system this Bank Holiday weekend.

A spokeswoman for the Trust said this morning (27 May 2010) that she was unaware that any definite decision for a go-live had yet been taken, but all the signs are that the Trust wants it to happen this weekend.

Not all officials at Richmond House, the headquarters of the Department of Health, share Morecambe Bay’s conviction that a go-live this weekend is a good idea.


A smooth go-live – if signed off by the Trust as successful – would intheory give the supplier CSC and its subcontractor iSoft tens of millions ofpounds.

But would a coalition government that is sceptical ofthe NPfIT want to pay CSC such a large sum at a time when it wants toprove it is serious about cutting the national debt?

This is oneof the problems facing the DH CIO for health Christine Connellywho has recently travelled to Morecambe Bay in Cumbria.  Does she want ago-live at Morecambe Bay that would help CSC and iSoft climb severalrungs of the NPfIT ladder, when the government wants to remove most ofthe top rungs of the same ladder?

Even if Morecambe Bay goeslive this weekend many other trusts in CSC’s local service providerarea may not want to take Lorenzo 1.9. So CSC could end up being paidtens of millions pounds for having proved the feasibility of a systemmany other trusts won’t install.

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And it’s odd thatMorecambe Bay wants a go-live that the DH doesn’t. If a Labourgovernment were in power, it would support the DH in any pressure itexerted on Morecambe Bay to go live as quickly as possible. Now that theTories are in power, spending cuts are in vogue – and the NPfIT isn’t. There again Morecambe Bay has been planning for this go-live for years. Can it stop now?

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MorecambeBay has made no comment other than to say that no definite decision on ago-live this weekend has yet been taken.

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Update: Morecambe Bay’s press office told me this afternoon [27 May 2010] that the Trust’s directors want any journalists inquiring about the planned go-live this weekend to be referred to NHS Connecting for Health in London.

This is unusual advice, because trusts are independent organisations, and CfH does not answer for what Morecambe Bay does or doesn’t do.  NHS trusts have their own press offices, separate from the press offices that are run by CfH and the Department of Health.

I have now asked CfH for a comment on Morecambe Bay’s planned go-live this weekend.

I have also asked CfH who would be responsible if a new system at Morecambe Bay contributed to an avoidable injury or  fatality. Would the responsibility lie with Morecambe Bay or CfH?

I haven’t yet had an answer.   

Links: 

AMorecambe Bay NPfIT election special? – IT Projects Blog

iSofton track for Lorenzo milestone – IT Projects Blog

iSoftwas “not willing” to give up Lorenzo rights in CSC talks – ITProjects Blog

BTand CSC – where they stand on the NPfIT – Smarthealthcare.com

 

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In determining who has taken responsibility for making a Morecambe Bay go live or not decision, the key question is who commissioned the 'Readiness for Service' Gateway 4 review and who determined having studied and assessed it that a 'GO' decision was a sound one?

Or is this another 'pass the buck' go live fudge?

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