NHS news review

Conservative election poster 2010

A few recent news articles about the UK’s Conservative and Liberal-Democrat (Conservative) coalition government – the ConDem’s – brutal attack on the National Health Service.

Docs: NHS care hit by Tory cuts / Britain / Home – Morning Star

Doctors slammed the Con-Dems’ NHS cuts today, warning that patients were being hit hard by longer waiting times and worse care.

Four in five GPs and hospital doctors have said that the cutbacks had already started to bite – resulting in fewer hospital beds, pressure to prescribe cheaper drugs and cuts to occupational and community health services.

The poll, conducted by the Guardian, makes a mockery of the coalition’s claims that it would protect the NHS from cuts.

And doctors’ representatives warned that there would be worse to come.

“The government is asking the NHS to save £20 billion in an extremely short space of time. It is inevitable that this will lead to the NHS contracting and offering the patient less as a service,” said Dr Mark Porter, chairman of the British Medical Association’s consultants committee.

He warned that the cuts would hit both patient care and investment in hospitals and local health services.

“Doctors and other healthcare professionals are working hard with managers to try and find greater ways of being efficient so that the impacts on patient care is reduced. However, the NHS does face an extremely tough financial future,” he said.

NHS computer system firm in £1bn climbdown | Business | The Guardian

Computer Sciences Corporation admits it may have to write off entire value of its investment in the delayed Lorenzo system for health service

Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), the American IT group, has admitted that eight years of delays and setbacks on its disastrous NHS contract have left little or no value for shareholders, as the company prepares to write off almost £1bn.

The colossal write off — equivalent to 40% of the CSC’s market value — comes after years of delays and IT glitches, centred on a new software system called Lorenzo. It was supposed to be ready in 60% of English hospitals more than four years ago, but was installed in its first acute hospital in June last year.

CSC’s failing contract has been one of the biggest challenges for Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude, who has been reviewing large government contracts.

In September a heavily edited internal Cabinet Office report revealed the CSC contract remained a “major problem”, noting existing plans for Lorenzo were “not deliverable”. It described the software as “a long way short of the full functionality of the contracted solution” and “not proved to be wholly fit for purpose”.

Maude and the Department of Health have been deliberating on whether to continue with CSC or risk the US firm joining fellow failed NHS IT contractor Fujitsu in costly and protracted legal disputes.

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