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MTAS designer rehired after £1.9m failure


Hold up! Before you read on, please read this...

This post was published more than 14 years ago

I keep old posts on the site because I often enjoy reading old content on other people's sites. It can be interesting to see how views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have, to put it mildly, mellowed.

I'm not a believer in brushing the past under the carpet. I've written some offensive rubbish on here in the past: deleting it and pretending it never happened doesn't change that. I hope that stumbling across something that's 14 years old won't offend anyone anew, because I hope that people can understand that what I thought and felt and wrote about then is probably very different to what I think and feel and write about now. It's a relic of an (albeit recent) bygone era.

So, given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views may well have changed in the last 14 years. I have written some very silly things over the years, many of which I find cringeworthy today.
  • This post might use words or language in ways which I would now consider inappropriate, offensive, embarrassing, or all three.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken, and embedded material might not appear properly.

Okay. Consider yourself duly warned. Read on...

Alan Johnson

MTAS was the utter failure of a computer system which was designed to match doctors to jobs but instead merely spewed out personal data onto unprotected parts of the internet leading to criminal proceedings and an unprecedented crisis in the training of junior doctors. It was hardly the government’s finest hour, and we’re still on course for crisis on 1st August as a huge number of doctors will be unemployed.

Earlier this week, it was stealthily revealed by the Department of Health that this now defunct system cost £1.9 million. That’s the same as over 70,000 GP consultations, which I think many people may consider a better use of the money. That cost is merely for the system itself – the upset it has caused through it’s failure and the contemptible lack of contingency planning is estimated by some to run into billions of pounds.

Taxpayers’ money well spent.

The private company whose designed the MTAS computer system, using some of that £1.9m, is Methods Consulting. Just to remind you, MTAS spewed personal data onto unprotected websites, and failed to perform its basic function of matching doctors to jobs.

Guess who’s now helping to design the computer service for the National Care Records Service, a program for storing highly sensitive medical records on a national network? Methods Consulting.

Yes, the company behind the biggest data security failure ever in the NHS is now being trusted with your medical records. And, of course, with a huge amount of taxpayers’ money.

Is there any private company on Earth that would give the job of helping design a highly sensitive computer system to a company that failed to secure a previous system with so much as a basic password? It just seems an utterly moronic decision.

This company has committed one of the biggest failings of NHS data security in its history. There is no question in my mind that they should be removed from the National Care Records Service programme immediately. And why are we paying a company so much money for a system that simply didn’t work?

These are things which Alan Johnson needs to tackle now if he’s to have any chance of regaining the trust and restoring the morale of doctors in this country. I have little faith, but I sincerely hope he can restore it.

This 1,184th post was filed under: Health, News and Comment.

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Comments and responses

Comment from Mort Karman

    18.50, 15/07/2007

I hate to say this, but at least MC will be busy screwing up your systems-so they will be to busy to come over here and work for our government.
If they really screw up, however, a job in the Bush administration awaits them.

Comment from Coire

    08.45, 16/07/2007

Gah! Don’t put so much in bold!! It makes you look like the Sun!

Hope you’re still enjoying your elective!

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

    02.31, 17/07/2007

Shouldn’t complain about looking like the biggest selling and most politically influential newspaper in the country… but I get your point – I’ll consider my wrists duly slapped!

My elective is still as fabulous as ever – just started my Family Practice attachment today, located on a retail park, appropriately next door to “Loonie Land”. 😉

Hope the exams are going well! Good luck for Thursday and Friday!

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