Player Roster 6

By Baselinemag  |  Posted 2006-11-13 Print this article Print

Richard Granger heads up the initiative to modernize the British health-care information-technology system, supervising contracts with consultants and others.

Patricia Hewitt

Health Secretary, Great Britain
Hewitt has consistently backed the NPfIT and other National Health Service (NHS) reforms, stating recently that they were the only way to safeguard the future of the British health-care system. In recent months, however, with the NHS's deficit approaching $1 billion, she has started implementing what unions are describing as massive cutbacks and service reductions within the cash-strapped NHS system as well as the privatization of many NHS jobs and services. Some observers fear NHS's fiscal problems may jeopardize the NPfIT's future.

Tony Blair
Prime Minister, Great Britain
Blair was reportedly sold on the idea of revamping the entire British health services through technology at a 2001 meeting with Microsoft's Bill Gates. Ever since, Blair has staunchly defended the program despite cost overruns and setbacks. He touts the National Program for Information Technology (NPfIT) as one of his government's greatest achievements. "This is going to be a place where people come from all over the world and say, 'This is how health care should be done,'" the prime minister stated recently.

Richard Granger
Director General of I.T., NHS
Granger was hired by NHS in October 2002 to modernize information technology for the entire British health-care system. Granger divided England into five regions, giving out billion-pound, 10-year contracts to so-called Local Service Providers, which would be responsible for implementing I.T. initiatives in their respective regions. These agreements stipulated that the LSPs wouldn't get paid until the systems they were implementing were functioning satisfactorily.

William D. Green
Chairman and CEO, Accenture
Under Green, Accenture won the biggest share of the NPfIT contract, but soon began encountering delays with its chief subcontractor, U.K. health-care software provider iSoft. As a result, Accenture's implementation schedule slipped badly, causing the consultancy to lose money on the project. After Accenture set aside $450 million to cover its losses, Green said he was hoping to renegotiate with Connecting for Health (CfH), the group supervising the program. When CfH head Richard Granger refused to renegotiate, Accenture announced it was walking away from the deal—a contract worth nearly $4 billion.

Bill Gates
Chairman, Microsoft
Gates is viewed as the godfather of the NPfIT because he reportedly sold Tony Blair on the benefits of bringing the digital revolution into every doctor's office and hospital in Great Britain. In the process, the British government signed an Enterprise Subscription Agreement (ESA) with Microsoft for 900,000 desktops for Office Professional Enterprise Edition 2003 and various client access licenses. Microsoft also is developing a common user interface for CfH. Gates received an honorary knighthood in 2005.

Sean Brennan
Consultant and author
A longtime NHS official, and currently a consultant and frequent speaker on health informatics issues, Brennan last year wrote a book on the NHS I.T. initiative, The NHS IT Project: The Biggest Computer Program in the World … Ever! He writes a monthly column for the British Journal of Healthcare Computing.

John Pugh and Richard Bacon
Members of Parliament (MPs)
Last summer Pugh, a Liberal Democrat from Southport, and Bacon, a conservative from Norfolk, issued a scathing report on the NPfIT, saying the program is "sleepwalking toward disaster."


Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
eWeek eWeek

Have the latest technology news and resources emailed to you everyday.