Feeds

NHS IT costs skyrocket

So who's paying?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Remote control for virtualized desktops

The final cost of the NHS National Programme for IT could top £30bn, and local NHS Trusts will have to find the bulk of the extra cash.

The NPfIT is a multi-billion pound overhaul of the NHS' IT systems. The government first announced £2.3bn of central funding for the project over three years. This has now risen to £6.2bn over ten years.

However, the Department of Health estimates that implementation costs are likely to add between £12bn-£24bn to the bill, according to Computer Weekly, and some Trusts are warning that the NPfIT will eat into funds meant for patient care.

The government says that because spending is being centralised, the NHS will benefit from economies of scale when replacing its old IT equipment. Once implemented, the new systems will also save the NHS a considerable sum. It wants the trusts to fund the implementation with this extra money.

The trusts, in turn, argue that the implementation will need up-front investment and that the savings are by no means guaranteed.

A spokesman for the NPfIT told Computer Weekly that "significant financial benefits will accrue, but in addition, the national programme will support NHS modernisation. Hence the benefits will be seen in improvements to NHS services and therefore improved patient care and safety."

The implication here is clear: even with the savings taken into account, there is a cash shortfall, and opposition parties are lining up to ask where the money will come from.

Liberal Democrat shadow chancellor Vince Cable said that local trusts could be forced to make tough decisions if they want to use local funding to support the objectives of the NPfIT: "This could mean cuts in other frontline services if the project is to be delivered," he said.

Richard Bacon, Tory member of the Public Accounts Committee, said: "If trusts are not given the money to pay for the national programme, how on earth are they going fund it? Will this mean patients waiting even longer for treatment while billions of pounds are spent on unproven systems?" ®

Related stories

Auditors take stock of NHS IT spend
What's the point of NHS IT? No one knows
UK govt IT an 'appalling waste' of public money
IT revolution threatened for US health service

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix
Everyone else in Europe compensates us - why can't you?
Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US HAS RADICALISED ME!
Now my lawyers have bailed 'cos I'm 'OFFICIALLY' BROKE
MI6 oversight report on Lee Rigby murder: US web giants offer 'safe haven for TERRORISM'
PM urged to 'prioritise issue' after Facebook hindsight find
BT said to have pulled patent-infringing boxes from DSL network
Take your license demand and stick it in your ASSIA
Right to be forgotten should apply to Google.com too: EU
And hey - no need to tell the website you've de-listed. That'll make it easier ...
prev story

Whitepapers

10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
The total economic impact of Druva inSync
Examining the ROI enterprises may realize by implementing inSync, as they look to improve backup and recovery of endpoint data in a cost-effective manner.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.