A government minister yesterday revealed that the NHS spent £1.6 billion on IT revealed in the 2008 to 2009 financial year, most of which went to the health service’s ill-fated National Programme for IT.
Healthcare IT minister Simon Burns revealed the figure for the 08/09 financial year in response to a written parliamentary question from Conservative MP Mike Weatherly, although he did not give explicit details of how this number has been calculated.
A report by IT analyst Kable in 2009 showed that total NHS IT spend for 07/08 totalled £2.4 billion. While the methodologies behind each statistic was not available and direct comparison should therefore be treated with caution, this would suggest that NHS IT spend actually fell by around a third.
The Kable report had predict that NHS expenditure on IT would rise by a compound annual growth rate of 6.9% to reach £3.5 billion by the 13/14 financial year.
In his response to Weatherly’s parliamentary enquiry, Burns revealed that the government’s beleaguered National Programme for IT – a scheme originally intended to develop a central repository for electronic patient records – accounted for nearly two-thirds of NHS IT spending at £1.06 billion.
The healthcare IT minister also stated that revenue expenditure – cash spent on maintenance of existing parts of the system – on the NPfIT made up almost half of this figure at £528 million, with the remaining £535 million invested into longer term goals of the strategy.