NHS Connecting for Health, which is largely responsible for the NHS’s £12.4bn National Programme for IT [NPfIT], is facing new financial pressures.
A report on the master risks of the NPfIT Local Ownership Programme [NLOP] – a plan to devolve to parts of the NHS some budgets and responsibilities for the national scheme – has referred to an “affordability gap” of about £8m.
This could be mitigated by NHS Connecting for Health withdrawing from some “deployment” and other functions.
The master risks log also said that all chief information officers and chief executives needed to be aware of the “affordability issue”. The gap related to the affordability of the planned organisation design for the NLOP.
The paper said: “… The aspiration for resources in the new structure is more than currently available.”
It also referred to “increased resource constraints”. Together with a “further 5% reduction required from CfH’s budget” this meant that “further efficiencies” would need “to be achieved at the expense of the current NPfIT model proposed”.
That CfH’s finances are tight does not appear in itself to be serious. What is surprising is that the affordability gap is only £8m. We would not expect an organisation running a £12.4bn IT programme to be struggling to find £8m.
More than £2bn on NPfIT has been spent so far by the centre, but it’s not quite clear how, or whether, all of the remaining £10bn will be found.