Government’s poor reputation as regards IT isn’t entirely undeserved. But all too often, it’s no worse than the non-IT processes it’s trying to replace. For example – can it really be true, as reported this morning, that ‘the NHS is cancelling more than 620 operations every day because of administrative errors… such as notes being lost, miscommunication between hospital departments, and booking errors’? The IT solution might not be perfect, but the status quo is indefensible.
Interestingly, the Department of Health doesn’t try to deny these figures – it only advises that they are treated ‘with caution’, as it’s an extrapolation. Which is fair enough. But it’s a bit much to try and score some points, on the basis that ‘we don’t collect data on all cancelled operations to minimise the burden on the NHS.’
This is quite an interesting case of some Freedom Of Information research yielding information we didn’t know before… and, arguably, should have. Tory MP Grant Shapps told BBC Radio Five Live this morning that he was looking into another matter, when this better story emerged. It’s just a pity there’s nowhere (so far) – either on shapps.com or conservatives.com – where we can see the full background. Otherwise, I hate to say it, we do have to pinch some salt here, as DH recommends.