Your shout: NHS IT through the looking glass

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NHS IT through the looking glass

I read your article "NHS IT devolution plan goes into action" three times to make sure I understood it. My understanding may be summarised as follows:

● NHS IT was to be centralised, despite the fact that everybody with any sense knew it wouldn't work for any organisation of the NHS's size, given the past history of failure of even modest NHS IT projects.

● The contract (ie the money) was to be shared out among the great and good of IT projects, eg the half dozen worthy organisations who already had their noses in the government trough, hereafter referred to as TCF (the chosen few).

● Knowing that the public had realised that it would never be delivered on time or to budget, the mandarins and TCF have shuffled off responsibility to 150 "senior responsible owners", hereafter referred to as TSG (the scapegoats), at local and regional NHS sites.

● TSG must spend all the money with TCF rather than with local/small suppliers, to buy software that may never be implemented properly due to a lack of skilled staff, and which may never show any return on investment.

● The end result will be as before: local NHS sites will buy useless software and hospitals will remain in chaos, except that all the billions that could have been spent on things that nobody in power cares about - nurses' salaries, medical equipment, doctors, etc - will now go to the big suppliers instead of the greedy little local suppliers that might know what they are doing and could in some cases be held to account for failure to perform.

● After the whole project has sunk in dismal failure, TSG will be castigated, the government/NHS people in power will be either promoted or retired on fat pensions supplemented by consultancy fees from TCF, and the owners of TCF will gloat over their 90% profits on the project sitting in US/Swiss bank accounts. Meanwhile, nurses and doctors will emigrate, NHS patients will wait years for operations, hospitals will collapse in disrepair, and taxpayers will spend more of their time working for tax.

Have I got it right? If not, could you please get one of the decision makers to explain it to me in Computer Weekly?

Reg Smith, Rimsco


Systemanalyse und Programmentwicklung

I read with interest, nay, fascination your full-page article "Big and small face same SAP hurdles". Then I read it again, very carefully, analysing every sentence for its meaning and relevance. I learnt about SAP skills, SAP technology, SAP deployment, and the difficulties sometimes faced by organisations using SAP. Very lucid! I was left with only one small question. What on earth is SAP?

Brian Tregar, Flying Disk-Doctor


Indiscretion at Heathrow leaves shopper wide open

I could relate strongly to John Gilbey's article "Security policies must extend outside of the office".

A couple of years ago I was airside at Heathrow waiting to fly to the US. The person on the next table was on his cellphone, and I couldn't help overhearing him ordering a TV to be delivered, giving out his credit card details, his name and address, what hours his neighbours were out at work, where the garage key was hidden so they could put the TV in there, and how long he was going to be in Atlanta.

I was feverishly writing all this down on a Garfunkles napkin, then as I left I handed it to him and broke the news that at least 10 people sitting in the crowded restaurant now knew all his personal details.

Keith Appleyard


Staff need to be educated about web use danger

The statistics that "half of web use by employees is non-work related" suggest that many staff are unaware of the security threat they pose.

Accessing unauthorised sites at work can open up networks to a raft of security threats, and many staff are unaware of their role in these attacks by going on spoof sites or responding to phishing e-mails.

Network managers need to ensure that the correct caching solutions are in place to manage the network successfully and prevent staff unnecessarily opening up the company to security threats.

Mike Clark, chief executive, ApplianSys

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