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This is a question Training courses, seminars and conferences

Inspirational or a waste of precious slacking-off time? I once went on a buzzword bingo-laden training course which ended up with my being held at gunpoint in public. Could have gone better, to be honest. Tell us your tales from either side of the lectern

(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 15:01)
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The hospital was rolling out a new PAS*,
and I was doing a non-job. Thus, I found myself quite heavily involved in testing the new system, and then, perhaps inevitably, in training the staff how to use it.

And so it came to pass that I found myself trapped in a small training room, with about a dozen middle-aged women. Medical secretaries, the guardians of the consultants. I didn't like them (never have, very similar to the receptionists at GP surgerys, ie. utterly obtuse), and they didn't want to be there (no one ever does, the old system was fine, why should it change, etc.).

Not knowing anything about teaching, I wasn't spectacularly well prepared, but I had planned the session, and given out a basic manual that I had written myself (complete with screenshots - who wouldn't love that?). I was certainly unprepared for the lack of basic IT literacy: double-click ("how do I do that?") on the icon ("what's that?") on the desktop ("where?"). My rudimentary lesson plan hadn't included a section on how to use a mouse, so I ended up having to go desk to desk, showing each lady what to do. Inevitably, the session devolved into lots of talking among my students. After several appeals for silence, I decided to wait them out.

Didn't work, and I spent the final 20 minutes of the sesson, sitting with my feet on the desk, and let them get on with it. No one learnt anything. Except me. I learnt that adults will behave in much the same way as children, in a classroom environment.

*Patient Administration System
(, Tue 20 Mar 2012, 8:53, 15 replies)
Which hospital and which PAS?
I used to train people to use iPM / Lorenzo at various places around manchester...

And yes, adult act like kids in a classroom, I actualluy used to bang on the board to get people to shut up. And tried not to laugh when they "ran out of mousemat"...
(, Tue 20 Mar 2012, 9:16, closed)
Yeesh, Lorenzo?
ISoft have a lot to answer for in regards for that piece of crap.
(, Tue 20 Mar 2012, 10:31, closed)
Maidstone Hospital, so miles away from your patch!
I forget the name of the PAS - all I remember was the logo, which was a brain, with a tile misaligned. I've done training on iPM, too, but that was almost always one to one, so going through the basics was never a problem - of course, the follow-up phone calls, asking me how to change the wallpaper, or set up a printer, got a bit wearing, after a while.
(, Tue 20 Mar 2012, 10:44, closed)
I've worked on quite a few IT systems for health
and a few for social services in my time. I seen training and cultural change costs range from between 5 times to 12 times the Hardware/Software capital costs and IMHO that's the chiefonly real reason why IT programmes go "over budget".

The suppliers always get it in the neck despite continually telling procurement that they need to budget more for training, no you don't under stand you need to budget more for training, no YOU NEED TO BUDGET MORE FOR TRAINING....... eventually they give up and the customer learns the hard way.

The Truth is staff have to change, training is only the start of it. Those that do not change end up leaving, going on sick or taking early retirement. I have a sneaking feeling that this is the customers agenda all along - they purposely under-budget the training/change program to weed out the fuckwits - but I seriously doubt my clients are bright enough to think that way despite commanding million/billion dollar programmes.

Unfortunately if the staff don't buy in to what you are trying to do, you might as well give up. It's not their fault - if they are sent on an advanced application course and don't know what a fucking mouse is then it's a highly likely that someone has fucked up the training/change budget big time.
(, Tue 20 Mar 2012, 9:47, closed)
I studied examples of systems failure previously and the best ones were always NHS and ALWAYS failed because of the unbelievably bollocks staff. The NHS has made a better idiot. It's an idiot which is also extremely feckless and insolent.

Which is why the Tories are going to tear it apart. They want efficiency which is tantamount to effective staff and projects which work. Which makes me so so sad, because it will be to the detriment of us all and the people who allowed this to be justified are the ones within the system, contesting it most of all.

I work in IT. My IT kin could have saved you fuckers, but your pig ignorant nature have condemned us to paying for healthcare which *we already pay for with our taxes*.

Damm you all.
(, Tue 20 Mar 2012, 9:49, closed)
I think you find that Labour introduced a very successful National Program for IT
It has been quite a struggle for the last 7 years implementing it but it's nearly there, all the money has been spent and it's producing phenomenal efficiencies at all the trusts that have bought into it.

Now it's all in place and ready to exploit, the Tories will merely take all the glory persuading the remaining authorities to buy into it in the name of austerity.

The fact that it was a labour government and a labour chancellor who drove it through; that it was a long term program of invest to save and that it was likely that a future administration would take all the glory will be all too easily forgotten as the Tories dish out the cushy jobs of operating and maintaining it to their big business buddies.

If you can see past the politics what you'll see is a world leading healthcare system free at the point of use. There is nothing of it's kind and scale anywhere else on earth and we IT people should be very proud of it, I know I am.
(, Tue 20 Mar 2012, 10:01, closed)

So all the failures associated with it are...?

I don't care about party politics. I just like to see stuff work and evolve and get better.
(, Tue 20 Mar 2012, 11:12, closed)
Stuff and nonsense really
Politicians have a knack of twisting the truth for their own ends, much like the press.
(, Tue 20 Mar 2012, 12:27, closed)
Some more from the NAO
Today's NAO report concludes that the £2.7 billion spent so far on care records systems does not represent value for money. And, based on performance so far, the NAO has no grounds for confidence that the remaining planned spending of £4.3 billion on care records systems will be any different.

The original aim of the Programme was for every patient to have an electronic care record by 2010. The systems the Department contracted its suppliers, BT and CSC, to deliver are now not all expected to be in place until 2015-16. Even so, based on performance so far, it is unlikely that the remaining work in the North, Midlands and East, where just four of 97 systems have been delivered to acute hospital trusts in seven years, can be completed by 2016 when the contract with CSC expires.

So. Vastly over budget, years behind schedule, doesn't do what it was supposed to - what definition of "successful" are you using?
(, Tue 20 Mar 2012, 13:39, closed)
CSC's bottom line?

(, Tue 20 Mar 2012, 13:51, closed)
Pretty much.
I once had the misfortune to work with the company (iSoft) that did the actual work CSCs PAS.

Never again.
(, Tue 20 Mar 2012, 15:25, closed)
Very successful?
Surely you jest. Here's what the National Audit Office had to say

"The original vision for the National Programme for IT in the NHS will not be realised. The NHS is now getting far fewer systems than planned despite the Department paying contractors almost the same amount of money. This is yet another example of a department fundamentally underestimating the scale and complexity of a major IT-enabled change programme.

"The Department of Health needs to admit that it is now in damage-limitation mode. I hope that my report today, together with the forthcoming review by the Cabinet Office and Treasury, announced by the Prime Minister, will help to prevent further loss of public value from future expenditure on the Programme."

Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, 18 May 2011

Read it and weep: www.nao.org.uk/publications/1012/npfit.aspx
(, Tue 20 Mar 2012, 13:36, closed)
The N3 network is quite nice,
now that it doesn't undergo a spectacular collapse every 2 days.
NPfIT was a disaster - anything good that has happened has been inspite of it, not because of it. Still, it did give plenty of people some cushy jobs for a few years, and that's good for the economy, right?
It did have noble intentions, and a unified PAS system across all departments of all hospitals would have been a wonderful thing. Could have worked, too.
(, Tue 20 Mar 2012, 13:43, closed)
NHS Staff
I've also had the dubious honour of training NHS staff.

I have trained people all over the world in our software. I have trained IT people and I've trained medical people. Everywhere else, apart from the NHS, they got it or were willing to try to get it.

The group of NHS women I trained, however, were reluctant to learn and reluctant to change and were largely as thick as shit, except where being devious was concerned. Some of them managed to give me the impression they had made some progress and were very friendly to my face but stabbed me in the back when the course had finished.
(, Tue 20 Mar 2012, 13:04, closed)
The last hospital I worked in
We eventually came up with the idea of making everyone who had attended training signing a bit of paper detailing what they had been shown, making them put their initials next to each item in the course.

We had to do this because of the amount of people who got trained, wilfully didn't their job and then told their manager they weren't shown how to do it properly during training. When we got them back in the classroom, they could perform the tasks they "weren't shown how to do" faster than the trainer could show them. They just didn't want to do it but it was always considered a "training issue".
(, Tue 20 Mar 2012, 13:28, closed)

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