NHS staff commitments concern

In the South Devon area, NHS managers are considering hiring clinical analysts who could join the LSPs.

In the South Devon area, NHS managers are considering hiring clinical analysts who could join the LSPs.

Minutes of the South West Peninsula Programme Board in January said clinical analysts were being recruited and there "may be the opportunity to fill some of the managed employee positions as part of that process".

But as the fight to meet contractual obligations to fill posts continues, internal discussions are under way about where liability for any shortfall lies.

The NPfIT shows no sign of directly shouldering the responsibility. Separate minutes of the South West Peninsula Programme Board, released to Computer Weekly, said, "It was noted that the NPfIT has suggested that this liability rests with the Southern Cluster, and thus is a potential financial risk to its constituent NHS organisations."

Commenting on the uncertainty over staffing, an NPfIT spokesman said major projects consume large amounts of IT human resources, and that there was a shortage of talent available within healthcare IT generally.

"In total, the national programme has a requirement to place some 200 NHS IT staff with the LSPs. The requirement is different across the clusters, the exact nature of the skills and posts required is not yet defined by each LSP and therefore not all posts are filled.

"The initiative has great merit in ensuring that valuable NHS knowledge is available within the LSPs and has also helped to lower LSPs' costs. There is currently no contractual dispute on this issue and, in the context of an enormous programme, it is unlikely ever to become a significant financial or contractual matter."

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