This may come as a shock to people in the IT industry but sometimes the answer isn't bright,shiny and made by them. In a rare foray into the real world IT Consultants have come across a client base that seems to be more interested in saving peoples lives than slick user interfaces into relational databases. IT companies are used to presenting their half-arsed projects made from the computing equivalent of toilet roll centres and sticky backed plastic to rapturous applause from adoring, over-indulgent parents so dont know how to deal with underpaid, over worked health care professionals.
We are a long way from an agreed user requirement for a computer system for the UK National Health Service - but wait, we have already spent £12 billion on it. It has now become a political issue. I assume that a Conservative Party junior research took my ranting on this topic, packaged it for his masters who are now barking about simple, sponsored by advertising, google solutions to accessing information. Ah well.
The surprising thing about this sad episode is pointed out by the Financial Times which states that we can't afford to stop the contracts. Still paying billions to IT companies to do nothing keeps them out of mischief.
But where can these companies redeploy their hyperactive, unstructured clowns (sorry, I mean IT professionals) the circus tent of National Identity card is already full and taking money with an almost embarrassing efficiency.
I know - a real time database of every single banking and retail transaction. It's obvious that we need to profile those people who buy ethnic food with cash. We could have links into the local authority databases to check whether they have a record of their dogs fouling the footpaths. I had better stop there I have an uneasy feeling that I might be taken seriously