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Connecting for Health

Volume 448: debated on Thursday 6 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what her latest estimate is of the total implementation costs of Connecting for Health, including the cost of local implementation. (76973)

The value of contracts let for the core components of the national programme for information technology, which is being delivered by the department's NHS Connecting for Health Agency, amounts to £6.2 billion over 10 years and this has not increased. Information about local national health service expenditure on implementing the programme, separate from the totality of NHS spending on information technology, is not collected centrally.

However, the National Audit Office (NAO) have calculated that the full gross cost of the programme including national contracts and legitimately approved additions, other central expenditure, and local implementation costs is approximately £12.4 billion at 2004-05 prices. But this figure does not take into account anticipated savings in the price paid by the NHS for information technology goods and services due to the central buying power of NHS Connecting for Health, or in NHS staff time saved through using the programme's systems and services. The NAO report acknowledges an independent evaluation that confirms that £4.5 billion has been saved by central rather than local procurement and also acknowledges a further £860 million of savings achieved through centrally negotiated enterprise wide arrangements.