NHS: Ict

Health written question – answered on 21st March 2007.

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Photo of Norman Lamb Norman Lamb Shadow Secretary of State for Health, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of their budget each hospital is expected to spend implementing the new NHS IT system; and what assessment has been made of the impact of implementing the new NHS IT system on hospital budgets.

Photo of Caroline Flint Caroline Flint Minister of State (Department of Health) (Public Health)

There is no specific numerical target for year-on-year spending by national health service organisations on local implementation of the national programme for information technology. Each NHS organisation is free, and expected, to use its resources in the way that delivers the best possible value for money. However, evidence from the Department's most recent (2006) survey of investment in information management and technology in the NHS shows that the combined total of current and predicted future local NHS and central spending reflects significant progress towards the level anticipated in the 2002 Wanless Report "Securing our Future Health" as being necessary to deliver the breadth and quality of healthcare services envisaged in the report. Detailed information from the 2006 survey is available in the Library.

Any costs associated with implementation of the national programme locally are very significantly outweighed by the savings accrued from participation in the programme. Most notably, an independent industry analysis has concluded that some £4.5 billion has been saved by aggregate central procurement rather than local procurement, a figure confirmed by independent industry analysts. In addition, savings have been achieved in the prices paid by the NHS for information technology goods and services due to the central buying power of NHS Connecting for Health, as well as in NHS staff time saved through using the programme's systems and services. The National Audit Office have acknowledged savings of £860 million achieved through centrally-negotiated enterprise wide arrangements.

The national programme was not mentioned among a list of possible factors contributing to NHS deficits in 2004-05 in the June 2006 joint National Audit Office/Audit Commission report on financial management in the NHS.

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