NHS IT suppliers face £1.5bn shortfall

The government has paid suppliers £1.5bn less than planned for the National Programme for IT in the NHS.

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The government has paid suppliers £1.5bn less than planned for the National Programme for IT in the NHS.

Suppliers have been paid £1.29bn according to the National Programme for IT (NpFIT) Benefits Statement 2006/07, published this week. This is less than half the £2.82bn originally forecast in March 2004. The NHS has also paid £390.8m to suppliers as advanced payments ahead of work.

Systems and number of installations to March 2007

  • Electronic Prescription Service 4,108
  • Choose and Book 8,042
  • GP Systems 632
  • Map of Medicine 432
  • Single Assessment Process systems 44
  • GP2GP Record Transfer 619
  • Patient Administration Systems 118
  • Picture Archiving and Communications System 88
  • Radiology systems 16
  • Theatre systems 18
  • Accident and Emergency systems 5
  • Ambulance Electronic Communication System 3
  • Community Systems 3
  • Child Health Systems 43
  • Data Miner systems 6
  • Tray Management systems 1
  • Portal systems 4
  • Prisons systems 14
  • Order Communications systems 4
  • TOTAL 14,236

Source: National Programme for IT in the NHS - Benefits Statement 2006/07

The shortfall is because the suppliers on the project, which include CSC, BT and Fujitsu, are typically not paid until their software is up and running.

The NHS National Programme for IT systems installed up to March last year, allowed the NHS to save £208m on IT costs, a Department of Health report said.

The DoH gathered data from one in five of the NHS trusts that have implemented new IT under the programme.

It said that the NHS had saved £192m through the delivery of the national network, which underpins many applications, £14m through the use of digital imaging and scans, and £617,000 through a reduction in software licensing and hardware maintenance costs.

The government has forecast that savings made by the NHS will rise to £1.14bn by 2014. It is estimated that the cost for the NPfIT will be £12.4bn by 2012.

Some 18,000 locations were connected to N3, the national network and new systems in GP practices and systems for digital x-rays and scans in hospitals have been added. NHS executives said more frontline systems are to come now that the “foundations” have been laid.

David Nicholson, chief executive at the NHS, said the report showed that the health service was making “really solid progress” in delivering an integrated IT system.

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