A grand NHS patient record system that was intended to computerise every patient record - before being abandoned - has cost UK taxpayers £10bn so far.
Furthermore, hundreds of millions of pounds more in costs are expected to emerge from the rubble of the project, according to a report from a government public spending watchdog, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
Launched in 2002, the National Programme for IT (NPfIT) project was plagued from the start by constantly shifting specifications, technical hurdles and disputes with suppliers.
As the project fell behind schedule, the rate of technological advancement outside the project also affected progress.
By September 2011, ministers said the project would be cancelled, but that parts would be salvaged and used, with separate management and accountability structures.
The new report has examined these spin-off projects, and discovered what it calls even more "extraordinary" failures in the government's decision to renegotiate an original £3.1bn contract with IT systems provider Computer Science Corporation (CSC), which have undermined all the spin-off projects.
The report explains how the Department of Health initially failed to meet contractual obligations, which made the government less able to negotiate.
The main project based on the £3.1bn contract is the Lorenzo system, which was meant to store and manage data for 220 health trusts in the north, east and Midlands. However, 10 years down the line, says the report, "not a single trust has a fully functioning Lorenzo care records system".
It is suggested that the final bill for Lorenzo will cost the Department for Health another £2.2bn on top of the £10bn written off - but cover only 22 trusts instead of 220.
Conservative MP and member of the PAC Richard Bacon called the project and its expensive failures one of the "most protracted and worst contracting scandals in the history of the public sector... both in the scale of money involved and the scale of mistakes".
Robbie Hughes, CEO of practice management software firm Qinec, said: "We need proper industry engagement and open standards to allow the market to create its own solutions that last and evolve with changing needs.
"With the proper incentives, this won't be a challenge, but while prescriptive requirements are being issued centrally and suppliers continue to be encouraged to build bespoke to these, the bills will simply keep going up and up and the systems will be out of date as soon as they are launched."