NHS Scotland has started the roll out of a single shared services platform for finance across its 22 health boards.
The first wave of seven health boards are now on the single, multi-company Advanced Business Solutions financial management system with integrated document management from Version One and business intelligence from SAP BusinessObjects.
Phase two of the project will bring a further seven health boards on-board with a planned go-live of 1 October 2012, with the remaining authorities expected to go live with the system by 1 April 2013.
NHS Scotland said it will see a range of benefits from the full roll-out of the single instance including automated, streamlined processes and reduced costs from having to pay for the maintenance and support of one finance system. It is also expected that having a single system will facilitate better integration with other systems and enhance business information.
Don Millard, national finance systems lead for the programme, said the move would save millions per year, with a return on investment expected to happen quickly.
The planning for the project started in 2004, which saw all individual boards move onto the same software in 2008. After a bedding down period that lasted two years planning then started for the migration to a shared platform.
“Significant benefits will accrue from this – first instead of having 22 health boards operating their own cut of the software it is hosted and delivered on a single cut by a single provider, so there will be immediate cost savings from the technology infrastructure, and network arrangements,” he said.
The move will see in-house support staff rationalised. “We’re in a position where we can look to streamlining not just [reducing staff], but to create a better quality of service to all. Some health boards are very small and therefore the in-house support might be a part-time function, now they will have access to an expert and dedicated team,” he said.