NHS / Steria joint venture chief touts India offshoring

The managing director of a joint venture between the NHS and IT outsourcing provider Steria has called for greater use of offshore resources by the UK’s health service.

John Neilson, MD of NHS Shared Business Services, told the Times newspaper that £1 billion is wasted every year through uncoordinated procurement processes.

“It’s scary. We actually have multiple prices being paid for the same item in the same [NHS] trust, in the same month,” Neilson said.

Neilson argued that the NHS could reduce costs by outsourcing clerical and call-centre jobs to India.

Opponents of offshore outsourcing by the health service argue that there are information security risks associated with sending health records offshore, and that patients in need of medical care might struggle with speaking to an Indian call-centre operator.

NHS SBS, which was founded in 2002, already uses offshore support recources in Pune and Noida, India. It provides a number of back office services, including e-procurement, to over 100 NHS trusts.

Pete Swabey

Pete Swabey

Pete was Editor of Information Age and head of technology research for Vitesse Media plc from 2005 to 2013, before moving on to be Senior Editor and then Editorial Director at The Economist Intelligence...

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