Half a billion spent on CfH - good value for money?

NHS Connecting for Health – which was set up to run the £12.7bn National Programme for IT – has spent at least £550,000,000 on staff costs in the last four years.

The figure excludes the costs of lawyers, public relations, recruitment agency fees, hotels and other expenses. It also excludes payments made on contracts with NPfIT local service providers. 

The figures have been given to Tory health spokesman Stephen O’Brien MP by NHS IT minister Mike O’Brien.

It’s hard to judge the value for money of the half a billion spent on CfH, particularly as it was set up to run a massive centrally-controlled NPfIT which has since been devolved, at least in part.

Some say that CfH is replete with talented and hard-working (perhaps too hard-working) individuals but as an organisation it is flawed. It has faced political pressure to deliver the impossible – fully integrated NHS systems – and has had a culture of success at all cost (including human cost). Criticisms have been taken as a mark of disaffection.

In view of what has happened with the NPfIT, or rather not happened, it can be argued that CfH was not needed.

**

Parliamentary question and answer

Mr. Stephen O’Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much his Department has spent on (a) staff, (b) office and (c) other costs incurred in respect of Connecting for Health in each year since 2004.

Mr. Mike O’Brien: Within the Department, NHS Connecting for Health, which came into being in April 2005, is responsible both for central expenditure necessary for ensuring delivery of the information technology systems under the national programme for information technology, and for maintaining the critical business systems previously provided to the National Health Service by the former NHS Information Authority.

Relevant information covering all NHS Connecting for Health’s responsibilities is shown in the following table.

 

£ million

 

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

Total (note 1)

971.0

1,119.7

1,195.7

1,094.3

Of which : Staff

139.4

149.5

142.4

129.2

Office

9.4

9.3

8.9

7.9

Notes:
1. Total capital and revenue (excludes capital charges).
2. ‘Staff’ covers the direct employment costs of permanent and temporary NHS personnel employed via the NHS Business Services Authority as host authority, secondees, contractors, and the manpower and non-manpower costs of departmental civil servants.
3. ‘Office’ includes rents/rates, utilities, office equipment, furniture and fittings.

 

Parliamentary written answer – Hansard

Is CfH in a good position to oversee the NPfIT? – IT projects blog

Paper or e-records? – Diagnosis PR

National Programme for IT – NO2ID Birmingham

When there are IT problems don’t mention Cerner – IT Projects 

Outsource your medical records to Microsoft? – Tom Watson MP  

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