A personal review by Rod Ward of "The NHS IT Project: The biggest computer programme in the world... ever!" by Sean Brennan.

This very readable book provides an overview of NHS IT strategies over the last 30 years, and places these within the wider political and social changes which have taken place, from the knowledgeable viewpoint of someone who has played s significant role in their development.

A strong focus on policy and strategy development means there is less detail of applications at the sharp end than some readers might want, but attempts are made throughout the book to illustrate issues with patient and staff vignettes.

The book is well organised with a detailed contents list, some useful appendices and a comprehensive index. Page layout is clear although some of the diagrams might have been better in colour.

The book brings the topic up to date with detail of the National Programme for Health (NPfIT), but, as with any book in this area, in the couple of months since it was printed changes to terminology e.g. "NHS Connecting for Health" and the change of a major software supplier to the Southern Cluster of the NPfIT.

The history lesson provided shows how developments have built upon previous work, but also how some of the lessons of the past have not been learnt, and tries to draw some lessons and indulge in a little crystal ball gazing to answer the question "Will NPfIT succeed?"

A key point is brought out in the final chapters of the book which suggests that many of the decisions about software have now been made but success will depend on its adoption by all NHS staff.

book coverThe NHS IT Project: The biggest computer programme in the world… ever! By Sean Brennan

Radcliffe Publishing Ltd, 18 Marcham Road, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 1AA

ISBN 1 85775 732 7

225 pp

Price: £29.95

Other reviews of this book:

Review by Michael Cross in the Guardian Thursday May 19, 2005 http://www.guardian.co.uk/online/story/0,3605,1486594,00.html

A web site to accompany the book is also available, as is Sean's Down at the EPR Arms Column

This book is available from Amazon

I can be contacted Rod@RodSpace.co.uk

Page Created: 16.6.05

Last Updated: 16.6.05