HSE to suspend roll-out of €150m computer system

Is this just plain incompetence or is there something more sinister involved?

The Irish Times understands that the system will have cost €150 million by the end of this year, and more than €230 million if fully implemented.

Despite this, less than one third of the people within the health system, or 37,000 people, are covered by it at present.

After he took up office in August, Prof Drumm ordered an internal review following internal complaints and reports about the system, which failed to identify a mistake where one staff member was paid €1 million in error. The mistake came to light when the staff member reported the overpayment to superiors.

Last July, when news of the overpayment emerged, the HSE blamed it on “human error”. It said PPARS was “working well and will be extended to all staff “.

In July Ta¡naiste Mary Harney said she had asked for a report from senior staff at her department on the project.

“If we have got it wrong we must put our hands up,” she said. According to her spokesman, Ms Harney has yet to receive that report.

Last night Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny, who is expected to raise the controversy in the Dail later today, described PPARs as “a farce that will make the money wasted on e-voting seem like small change”.

“A project initially costed six years ago at €8 million is now heading towards a completion cost of a quarter of a billion euro because of chronic planning, management and oversight. We get to see why under this Government health budgets are increased while front-line services still suffer.”