National Health Service – UK

Following entry is a record in the “Catalogue of Catastrophe” – a list of failed and troubled projects from around the world.


National Health Service – UK
Project name :
NHS Care Records Service
Date : Oct 2008 – UPDATED Sep 2010 Cost :$24B project (World’s largest civil IT project)

Synopsis :
Rollout of the Care Records Service component of the UK’s National Program for IT grinds to a halt after pilot sites report significant problems.  Already 4 years behind schedule, the initial pilot releases in London England were branded a shambles as failure to address culture change issues interacted with ‘technical faults’ to produce weeks of chaos at hospitals.  After several months of working on the problems, the rollout is placed on hold as further hospitals wait for the problems to be resolved before allowing the rollout to proceed.

UPDATE – 10 Sep 2010 – Department of Health announces that efforts to centralize health records has now been abandoned.

Contributing factors as reported in the press :
Original scope and cost of project was radically underestimated.  Original budget was $4.6B, it has subsequently grown to $24B, with some observers estimating it could grow to as much as $40B.  Rollout at first pilot site had been hampered by insufficient training for the user community and issues relating to culture change.

Reference links:

  1. NHS care record rollout grinds to a halt
  2. NHS Computuer records project grinds to a halt
  3. First London NHS care records rollout causes ‘chaos’
  4. London hospital trust loses £7.2m in upgrade debacle
  5. NHS IT programme is at a pivot point (added 12 Dec 2008)
  6. NHS can’t go on and on with rollout problems (added 17 Dec 2008)
  7. NHS Given six months to get IT right (added 27 Jan 2009)
  8. Hospital boss appologises for NHS IT problems (added 13 Feb 2009)
  9. NHS IT will not be scrapped completely (added 7 Dec 2009)
  10. NHS IT is mothballed as Brown launches efficiency drive (added 7 Dec 2009)
  11. The future of the National Programme for IT (added – 10 Sep 2010) <- Project scrapped