NPfIT spend of more than £6bn by end of 2009/10

NHS Connecting for Health will have spent more than £6bn centrally on the NPfIT by the end of this financial year, in April 2010, according to figures released to the Conservatives this week.

The figure is for the spending by NHS Connecting for Health only. It doesn’t include any part  of the £3.6bn which the Department expects will be spent by NHS trusts on the NPfIT.

Neither does the £6bn figure include “capital charges” which the Government declines to specify or explain.

Releasing some figures to Conservative Shadow Health Minister Stephen O’Brien, the NPfIT minister Mike O’Brien made it clear that spending on the national programme was much less than budgeted for.

In 2008/9, for example, NHS Connecting for Health spent about £1bn whereas its budget was about £1.5bn.   

But the Conservatives point out that the deployments to NHS trusts have been far fewer than planned, because of delays in delivery of NPfIT patient administration systems, and concerns among Trust IT executives about whether NPfIT products have been fit for purpose.          

Last year the cross-party House of Commons’ Public Accounts Committee expressed doubts on whether the NPfIT represented value for money. “We are not yet convinced that the Department secured good value for money by letting contracts which covered the NHS as a whole,” said the Committee in a report in January 2009.

The Committee’s MPs were concerned about the lack of successful deployments of the Cerner Millennium system and “Lorenzo” system from iSoft and CSC.   

Mike O’Brien said that expenditure plans for years beyond 2009-10 are “currently being reviewed in the light of announcements made in the pre-Budget report, and of the evolving IT needs of the NHS”.



Has the £6bn been spent wisely?  A few suppliers, lawyers, PR companies, consultants, hoteliers, video conferencing and office rental companies, training companies, airlines etc would say “undoubtedly”. Perhaps even some NHS trusts.  

This is the question and answer, courtesy of

Stephen O’Brien (Shadow Minister, Health; Eddisbury, Conservative)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the Pre-Budget Report what the (a) initial budget and (b) outturn was in respect of (i) revenue and (ii) capital expenditure for (A) the National Programme for IT and (B) each element of the National Programme for IT in each year since the inception of the programme; and how much (1) capital and (2) revenue funding has been allocated for each remaining year of the programme.

Mike O’Brien (Minister of State (Health Services), Department of Health; North Warwickshire, Labour)

Comprehensive information in the form requested is not available. This is because the overall cost of the national programme for information technology (NPfTT) includes both central costs, and the costs managed by local national health service bodies incurred in implementing the systems, for example in training staff and upgrading computer hardware. Local information is not routinely collected in a way that differentiates expenditure on the IT programme from other local TT-related expenditure.

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 IT systems under the national programme, and for maintaining the critical business systems previously provided to the national health service by the former NHS Information Authority. NHS Connecting for Health does not prepare annual whole-programme budgets for NPfTT activity separate from those for its wider responsibilities as this would involve the unnecessary apportionment of common management, administrative and support costs. For the same reason, separate outturn figures are not routinely reported for management information purposes.

Information covering all NHS Connecting for Health’s responsibilities is shown in the following tables.

Initial Budget
£ million
2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Capital 1,198 1,055 915 917.0 800.0
Revenue 799 638 607 631.3 580.00
£ million
Actual expenditure Forecast Outturn
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Capital 360.0 429.0 589.0 686.0 535.1 562.6
Revenue 260.0 539.0 528.0 507.0 528.4 573.8

1. All sums exclude capital charges.

2. The amounts include the original costs of NPfTT contracts, whichhave not changed, but also include new and additional requirements thathave been added, supported by separate business cases and funding, asreported by the National Audit Office.

3. Expenditure plans for years beyond 2009-10 are currently beingreviewed in the light of announcements made in the pre-Budget report,and of the evolving IT needs of the NHS.

NPfIT spend rises to more than £6bn –

The NPfIT is in for a stormy year –

LSP contracts may be abandoned –

Failed IT Projects cost way too much – ITbusinessedge

Tory manifesto has records for all – E-Health Insider

iSoft founder says he’ll be vindicated – IT Projects Blog