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National Programme for Information Technology

Volume 449: debated on Wednesday 19 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 16 June 2006, Official Report, column 1558W, on the National Programme for Information Technology, what the total level of savings are which have been achieved by NHS organisations where national programme systems and services have been delivered ahead of time; and in which NHS organisations these savings were achieved. (80307)

Comprehensive information of the kind requested is not collected centrally. However, the most obvious example of savings of the kind described is when new systems, paid for under the programme, have replaced systems that local national health service bodies have previously been paying for. Across the whole of the NHS, and over the 10-year life of the national programme, these savings will be very substantial. In the case of the local service provider contracts, local savings are expected to offset nearly half the local costs over the lives of the contracts; a saving of some £2.5 billion.

In the case of picture archiving and communications (PACS) systems, local savings are expected fully to offset the local costs of £684 million. Smaller savings are also expected in other areas, for example, where local NHS bodies use N3 or NHSmail to replace services for which they are currently paying. The business case for NHSmail estimated such savings at £185 million.

Further savings as a consequence of safety and organisational improvements will also be cash-releasing, and are highlighted in the recent National Audit Office report into the national programme.