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Volume 490: debated on Monday 23 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the cost has been of new computer systems ordered for use in the National Health Service since 2007; which NHS computer contracts have been cancelled after the order was placed over that period; and what effect the installed new computer systems are expected to have on the NHS’s expenditure. (263819)

Comprehensive information is not available centrally in the form requested.

Local information technology (IT) expenditure reported by the national health service in the 2007-08 financial year—the latest period for which information is available—amounted to £1,852 million. This figure comprises revenue expenditure (£1,517 million, including capital charges of £258 million) reported through an annual national survey of IT investment, and capital expenditure (£335 million), identified in NHS accounts and reported by foundation trusts. It does not include expenditure by special health authorities or central expenditure funded by the Department. The information collected does not differentiate between different elements of IT expenditure, for example on hardware or software-related costs, nor include details of the local contractual arrangements.

Contracts covering the core systems and service being provided centrally under the national programme for information technology were entered into during 2003 and 2004. The contract with Fujitsu, the then local service provider for the national programme in the south of England, was terminated in May 2008 because of the company’s failure to meet key contractual milestones and to provide an acceptable remediation plan.

Information about the local financial and resource impact due to the implementation of computer systems are held locally by the NHS organisations involved. However, while the purpose of the new systems being deployed through the national programme is to improve patient services by delivering better, safer care to patients more efficiently, they will in fact also save money by relieving doctors and other staff of unnecessary and time-consuming administrative burdens.