Health minister outlines tech spending
Which consultants screw the most out of the NHS?
Tory MP for Hove Mike Weatherley has been bombarding the Ministry of Health with questions on its technology spending, but he's having mixed success.
The first effort on Tuesday asked for a percentage of NHS IT spending which went on online services, a percentage of spending on technology which could only be maintained by its supplier and finally how much the health service spent, in 2009 and in total, on technology projects which were over three years late.
Health minister Simon Burns shot this down effortlessly. The information was not held centrally and could only be collated at excessive cost, Weatherley was told on Tuesday.
Weatherley had more luck on Wednesday. He asked Burns for figures on total tech spending by the NHS in 2009.
Information technology (IT) expenditure reported by the national health service in the 2008-09 financial year amounted to £1,624 million, broken down as follows: (in millions of pounds)
Strategic health authorities 27
Primary care trusts 682
NHS trusts 915.
The Written Answer continued:
These figures comprise revenue expenditure (£1,363 million) reported through an annual national survey of IT investment, and capital expenditure (£261 million), including software licences, identified in NHS Accounts and reported by foundation trusts. They do not include expenditure by special health authorities or central expenditure funded by the Department.
Finally Weatherley asked for figures of spending on projects undertaken by companies with headquarters outside the UK. He was again told that comprehensive information was not held centrally and could not be obtained except at disproportionate cost.
But spending by the National Programme for IT was revealed:
(again in millions of pounds)
Atos Consulting Ltd 1.36
Atos Origin IT Services UK Ltd 2.80
Cable and Wireless UK 23.50 CSC 213.00
CSC Computer Science 0.23
Fujitsu Services 0.40
Set up the NHS with their own in-house IT department. Allow NHS IT to be subcontracted out when workloads permit.
Discontinue the use of proprietary software wherever Open Source is technically feasible. Rigidly mandate Open Standards (as in, if you can't do it with a package that implements Open Standards, then you do it without a computer) with a view towards an eventual migration to 100% Open Source.
The NHS exists to make sick people better, not to make billionaires richer.
Here's a idea.
dear NHS trust.
You must now keep a record of spending in the following:
Staff costs: Internal
Staff Costs: External
this must be published to central Goverment each may.
Where are BT in that list? They have by far the biggest contracts with CfH...some how I don't think these numbers add up.
This MP also needs to ask how much money is spent on pointless and overpaid "internal" CfH consultants. All they do is supervise the work of the suppliers and put pointless obstacles in the way. I speak from experience of working for all the main NHS IT contractors.