IT systems implementation
This case looks at the well-known failure of the computer-aided despatch system that the London Ambulance Service implemented in 1992. As the date for publication of the results of the enquiry into the incident approaches, John Wilby, former chief executive of London Ambulance Service wonders what went so desperately wrong at LAS. 1 Unless otherwise indicated, information in this case study drawn – in some parts verbatim – from the following report: D Page, P Williams and D Boyd, Report of the Inquiry into the London Ambulance Service, South West Thames Regional Health Authority, London, 1993. Was it just the IT industry that generated so many problems and cost so many millions, or was the LAS failure the result of gross mismanagement? Or perhaps it was both? The furore surrounding the failure of the Computer-Aided Despatch (CAD) system that had been implemented at LAS the month before seemed to indicate that there was more to it than simply placing the blame wherever it fell.