Swindells report on NHS IT: is it being held up?

A week ago we reported that Matthew Swindells, who has been leading a review of NHS informatics, including the £12.4bn National Programme for IT (NPfIT), has resigned.

Since then there have been suggestions that Swindells has finished his work on the report but that it is undergoing editing which is contributing to a delay in its publication.

In 2006 we received, under the Freedom of Information Act, various draft versions of the National Audit Office on the NPfIT. Sections of the draft versions which had negative connotations were deleted or the wording changed. This happened during the report’s “clearance” process with the Department of Health, which took about six months.

In the light of this we asked the Department of Health about whether Matthew Swindells has written his report following his review of NHS Informatics. We also asked if the report was being watered down. The reply was in the passive: that the report was still being written.

The spokeswoman said only: “The report is still in the process of being written and will be published in due course”.

When we asked whether Swindells was doing the writing or whether his report was being edited by others, the spokeswoman declined to comment. She made it clear that the wording of the reply was not to be elaborated on.

Swindells is still due to be the keynote speaker at Healthcare Computing conference, HC2008, at Harrogate next week. It will be interesting to hear whether his report is undergoing a cleansing of any negatives.


Links:

NAO report on the NPfIT: A journey from criticism to praise [2006]

Swindells quits Department of Health

HC2008 – conference speakers

More than £4bn spent on the NPfIT up to April 2008

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