NHS IT spend fell during 2009, statistics suggest

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.

Peter Done

Peter Done is managing director of Peninsula Business Services, the personnel and employment law consultancy he set up having already built a successful betting shop business.

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