The scale of the problems with the PPARS computer system used by the Health Service Executive emerges after it pays one employee one million euro in error.
The personnel, payroll and related systems PPARS was introduced in 2001 to ensure a common payroll service for over 100,000 the Health Service Executive (HSE) staff. Costs are expected to balloon from an initial estimate of €9 million to approximately €150 million by the end of 2005.
Nurses say their concerns about underpayment and over-payment of wages were ignored by health managers.
General Secretary of the Irish Nurses' Organisation Liam Doran describes the PPARS system as,
Unnecessary, wasteful nonsensical and totally devoid of any logic or reason, health service is about caring for patients, that's where we should spend €170 million.
In July 2005 it came to light that the system paid one health employee one million euro in error.
Minister for Health Mary Harney has ordered a report from her department on the project which has seen €70 million paid out to external consultants.
Chief executive of the HSE Professor Brendan Drumm is expected to call a halt to the system before it is rolled out to a further 60,000 staff, pending a review.
Head of Information Technology at the Institute of Public Administration Tom Fuller says,
Fifty percent of software projects fail, that’s fail completely and I’ll say very few of them actually come in on time and on budget.
This failure stems from a lack of clear specifications of requirements in the first place.
The final roll out cost for the PPARS system is estimated at over €200 million. This is more than the cost of building Tallaght Hospital.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 4 October 2005. The reporter is Fergal Bowers.