That was the first word in my mind when I looked into the Guardian seeing the following headline ‘NHS cancels 3,000 operations in two December weeks‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/dec/28/nhs-cancels-3000-operations-in-two-december-weeks), it is not the only NHS story in the Guardian and to be fair, there has been an awful lot of bashing of the NHS, not entirely in an unfair way, but it has been in a very misrepresented way.
I have written about the NHS a few times, with the main reason that whatever hits the UK, will hit Canada, Australia and perhaps even New Zealand, later if not sooner. The small inserted text “The figures, highlighted by Labour” is entirely an issue too. Perhaps the Guardian might also want to illuminate that part of all this is DUE TO the actions of Labour, not just illustrated now by Labour. It all starred in the age of Blair, perhaps not the most unknown Prime Minister of the UK (1997-2007), followed up by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown who continued the mess from 2007 to 2010.
So why blame them?
Even though the project started in 2002, during these three administration cycles, that project was blown in access of well beyond 10 billion with nothing to show for it. 10% of that fund could have prevented well over 80% of all current NHS issues. So, I will state that Labour might not have started this mess; they definitely were in the midst as it got bungled again and again. When we consider the September 2013 article (at http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/sep/18/nhs-records-system-10bn), where we read “CSC’s contracts could not be cancelled because a legal challenge by the company may well have succeeded, the report claimed“, we can see that this issue was bungled in several departments, the IT branch not being the smallest one.
Yes, we know, we see and we all feel that any NHS system costs us, but this fiasco is beyond the entire budget of the Ministry of Transport for 2015, so we can say that there are issues. Whatever we will hear in defense regarding how things must move forward, the current administration is still cleaning up the mess of Labour, best way they can (with emptied coffers), so the sanctimonious highlighting by Labour (not unlike the current acts of Labour in Australia), should be looked at with some contempt. When the previous landlord sells the garage, he does not get to remark on how less ‘clean’ the car is, when he had removed the shelter in the first place.
When we see the quote ““To reduce pressures on hospitals and to keep a flow of patients coming in and leaving hospital, we need to manage the number of available beds more efficiently. To achieve this, we need to reduce unnecessary admissions and visits to A&E and improve community care.”“, we should add to that that the system was meant to be better by having an actual system. When we consider a previous made quote “Dr Mark Porter, chairman of the BMA, says £20bn savings drive to blame, as doctors and nurses are made redundant“, we must now remember that wasting in access of £10bn for a non-working IT system has everything to do with that part. But that is only one factor.
For the next part I need to refer to a decent article in the Independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/the-myth-excessive-government-borrowing-got-us-into-this-mess-8601390.html). There we see the following: “In fact, government borrowing did not get us into this mess. As we shall see, the last government did not borrow excessively, whilst the recession was a consequence of overleveraged banks and the collapse of the US housing market. The banks overextended themselves in poorly regulated financial markets, indulging in high-risk lending in the belief that a housing bubble would never burst“, this is absolutely true, yet not entirely correct. consider in 2008, Gordon Brown was handed a lemon for sure, yet, the strong measures that should have been taken, like cutting back hard, especially in late 2009 onwards, were also absent. The article has a few other ‘represented’ events that are true, yet incomplete, you see, no one will deny that the banks were all at fault for the bulk of the mess, yet harsh acts afterwards were mostly none existent, moreover, many of these big wigs went home with a golden handshake a fat donation to their bank account and enough to buy a ‘St James Hamper’ for all the members of their family (Catalogue Code: 2099429 at http://www.fortnumandmason.com).
So when we see the current Labour highlights, we need to take a few more details into consideration and can we agree that those issues were absent in this article?
So when we see the very premature promise of “He pledged Labour would invest an extra £2.5bn in the NHS each year, resulting in 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 GPs“, we need to consider that the bungles under labour had costed many of them their jobs in the first place. The NHS still needs a much better IT system then it has for now and until this is completed these issues will remain, trusting labour to get the job done is really not a good idea. We could misrepresent that we currently have well over 10 billion pieces of evidence to make that case. I will let you mull over any contemplation in that direction of financial deficit.
By the way, when considering that part, we must also consider Wednesday’s article (at http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/dec/31/sexual-violence-soars-uk-hospitals), there we see security issues of several levels in the Guardian, now reread the issue from December 28th, at that point, these issues would have been clearly know. There is no mention of security or upgraded HR needs; just nurses and GP’s, so how out of touch is a three day old statement that did not consider known details at that very moment?
I see this as an out of touch Labour government that is highlighting and promising, yet the highlight is incorrect, the promise in inaccurate, perhaps even insincere and all of this in completely unrealistic (personal note: it sucks to be Labour at present). This is the view from Labour, whilst only looking at the issues that are touching the NHS, one of the most important issues that will remain around in the coming decade. I hope that the siblings of the UK (Read: Australia, Canada and New Zealand) take these thoughts into consideration, because if we ‘the Commonwealth’ in the upcoming age of IP want to survive, we need to up the game in several areas buy a lot! In this regard IP is not just a piece of software; our Intellectual Property is not just software (even though it is largely regarded as such). If we consider that the mind is the software of the brain, we need to rethink the premise that Big Business has forced us to make in the age where ‘they’ had set the target, the premise and the consequence. If we take the basic approach where ‘the Turing test is a test of a machine’s ability to conclusively show intelligent behaviour that is indistinguishable from a human being’, can we make a similar statement that ‘a system’s adherency to set and cater to a rule of definitions, which in turn allows servicing the need of a community’?
So what if we invert the current situation as we might see in the paper by Alan Turing ‘Computing Machinery and Intelligence‘ around 1950. Our systems have been exceeding the ability of those computers for a long time, yet as technologists have been greed driven into a iterative release of hardware (and software), we ignored use of innovation in UNIX (or LINUX or SE-LINUX), to truly drive productivity as large players like Microsoft, to cater to profits forced business to take a step back, to be the sheep carrying the pay checks for these large corporations. So as we stare at the words of Alan Turing and as we look at the words of cognitive scientist Stevan Robert Harnad, where we wonder whether a machine can act indistinguishably, we all forgot (an implied assumption by me) about the part, ‘can a system truly cater and flexibly work under a premise of security as it caters to the need of health officials’, so that they can focus on treating and curing. A system bogged down by consultants and speculators on how it ‘must’ be, whilst ignoring the small academic innovators on how it actually could be.
Whilst dishing billions to a company with a legal challenge, we all should have looked at the future of IT as these minds were shaped at universities. The technologies required were never with the people in office now, they learned the previous iteration of technologies, the actual innovators are at university now and catering into that direction at 1% of the cost is more likely a solution then the one not delivered at present. Consider for a moment the PDF (at http://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/rec-man-pol.pdf). Now, there is nothing wrong with the entire approach to the document, yet at 5.9.12 we suddenly see “Be aware when redacting Microsoft Word documents electronically by using the black highlight text tool as this process is reversible. A Microsoft Word file converted into PDF can be easily read merely by copying if from PDF back into Word” suddenly we see that Microsoft is just part of all this, a ‘simple’ formatting is now a Microsoft based guideline. Why?
At 5.18.1 we see: “A secure drive (S:drive) has been created to hold such data and staff should contact firstname.lastname@example.org to request a secure folder“, so this goes via a French multinational IT services corporation headquartered in Bezons, France, making 10 billion in 2013? How much of that revenue is coming from the NHS, and why is this cost not going through a British company (seems like an awfully simple question to pose). By the way, one other thing to notice is that the Glossary after page 27 shows the term ‘metadata’, yet the document itself leaves the term metadata unused, which refers to Protective marking, only discussed in Appendix D, where it is mentioned to the minimised extent. Although this document should not be seen as any representation of NHS IT (the document is actually a very decent piece of work), it should leave us with several questions, we might not get an answer to, if not for the now, then definitely towards the goal the NHS must steer to if it wants to survive beyond 2015, just adding funds will not do, and the funds Labour offers are those they have no access to until after an election, which will then be the funds that are non-existent as the present shows.
So where should we look when we are confronted with these misrepresentations (as I see them)?
I am not telling, just asking!