Nearly one third of the National Programme for IT's Gateway Reviews until 2007 produced a red status demand for immediate remedial action.
Of 31 reviews produced by the Treasury's Office of Government Commerce and released under the Freedom of Information Act on 18 June 2009, nine had a red status, meaning "To achieve success the project should take action immediately." NHS Connecting for Health said the reviews, which have previously been confidential, comprise all of those prepared between 2002-07.
One red review, a 'gateway 0' strategic assessment of the whole National Programme released in November 2004, recorded great progress on procurement, which it credited to a large extent to then head Richard Granger. But it warned of "suspicion and cynicism of the National Programme" urgently requiring a more open approach.
It concluded: "Despite the good progress on procurement, the current lack of engagement with the hearts and minds of the staff within the NHS at all levels, the lack of a coherent benefits realisation strategy and the absence of clarity regarding the organisational structure that will address these problems means that the overall status of the National Programme is red."
The reviews released include 19 with an amber status, denoting the project in question should proceed but take notice of the OGC's recommendations. Just two reviews had a green status, showing the OGC felt the project was on target to succeed, both covering the N3 network. One, a strategic review of the whole programme dating from 2002, did not allocate a traffic light status.
The red rated reviews covered two areas of the programme twice: Choose & Book, in 2002 and 2005, which received amber reviews in 2003 and 2004, and the state of the programme in London, in 2004 and 2005. The OGC also issued red reviews of the Southern region in 2004, the North-West in 2005, the Care Records Service in 2002 and Electronic Transmission of Prescriptions in 2004.
In a statement, NHS Connecting for Health said that the reviews had taken place to highlight problems, and "were therefore deliberately critical and focused on problems," although they also found positive aspects.
"We welcomed the report from the Public Accounts Committee in January this year and its acknowledgement of what has been successfully delivered," it said, adding that the delays in some areas are regrettable, while pointing out that this has also delayed payments to suppliers.
"The Department of Health's Director General for Informatics has recently made clear that if significant progress is not achieved by the end of November 2009, a new approach may need to be adopted," it added, referring to Christine Connolly's speech at HC2009 in May.
This article was originally published at Kable.
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