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Saturday 26th May 2018

Brown needs the right IT guy

24th June 2007

While attention may fall on who Gordon Brown puts into key jobs as he moves into No 10, he must also focus on another critical appointment if he is to demonstrate that he understands the real business of modern government: that of director of IT at the NHS.

perfect medical presentations

The controversial Richard Granger is standing down after five years with the £12.4bn National Programme for IT project half-finished. He has angered the medical profession and contractors with his approach, yet he has also sought to ensure that contractors rather than taxpayers bear the risks, as well as the rewards, of the project and brought a sense of urgency to it.

At the Munich Economic Summit, the focus was on how ageing populations will impact on government, particularly in healthcare, with life expectancy increasing across the globe and with it the need to spend more on healthcare.

Spending on health as a percentage of GDP rose from 7.7% to 9% in Europe between 1992 and 2003 and from 13% to 15.2% in America.

But Klaus Kleinfeld, the outgoing chief executive of Siemens, told the summit of the extraordinary costs of inefficiencies in the industry: deaths through medical treatment errors, and only one in four consultations carried out.

There are complex problems underlying cost overruns, inefficient allocation of doctors and nurses as well as the unnecessary deaths in the NHS. But there are signs that improved management and systems can make a meaningful difference.

So if the new prime minister is committed to improving services, he needs to start with systems, and the right IT guy.


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