The recent news that the government has scrapped a news NHS IT system has unsurprisingly caused a lot of anger.
Not anger caused as a result of abandoning a project which has been doomed to fail for some time, but anger at the amount of money thrown away on the scheme already.
Of the £12bn total cost of the system, at least £2.7bn of public money had been spent as of last month.
It’s a huge amount of money under any circumstances, but particularly so when the economy is struggling and when a process of cutting NHS staff is already underway.
To illustrate the scale of the waste, it would be enough to pay a £25,000-a-year salary to 21,000 NHS workers. For five years.
In most sectors of employment, the people most responsible for making such catastrophic decisions would find themselves looking for work, probably nursing a severely damaged reputation. Something which seems not to apply to those running the country.
Sure, we’re all capable of making mistakes, and we can’t expect our MPs to be perfect. They have difficult jobs, despite half of the country believing they could do better.
But when mistakes are made by a government on such a scale, is it not right that those at fault are held to account rather than carrying on regardless, taking no responsibility?
It was a similar story with the failed FireControl project which intended to replace local rescue control rooms with nine regional control centres across the country.
Only one has been used, with the rest lying empty but still costing £4m a month to maintain. Almost £500m will have been wasted on the project in total.
Again there is no-one being held accountable for the disastrous outcome, and highlights how utterly untouchable those in government currently are.
Parliament endorsed prison sentences for looters involved in the rioting, though when many MPs themselves were guilty of theft – though obviously not officially described as such – they offered a quiet apology, gave back some of what they had taken, and then hoped for the fuss to die down. Which it duly did. Only two MPs found themselves jailed.
It’s time that our MPs were treated the same way as any regular person on the street when they get things so badly wrong.
And not many of us would stand a chance of getting away with explaining to the boss that we’d just wasted £3bn of company money.