The now-axed NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT) has realised just £3.7bn in benefits to date, compared with costs of £7.3bn, according to Department of Health (DoH) figures.
However, the DoH claims benefits will slightly exceed costs over the whole life of the systems. The NPfIT will have achieved £10.7bn compared with £9.8bn in expenditure, the DoH said in its benefits statement for programmes previously managed under the NPfIT.
But in its review of the statement, the National Audit Office (NAO) said there was considerable uncertainty around whether the forecast benefits will be realised.
Around two-thirds (£6.6bn) of the total estimated benefits are forecast to arise after March 2012. For three programmes, 98% of the total estimated benefits were still to be realised.
“Experience over the last 10 years suggests this will be challenging to achieve, particularly in the case of the local care records systems,” said the NAO report.
The NPfIT was launched in 2002 to reform the way the NHS in England uses information. While some parts of the programme were delivered successfully, others encountered significant difficulties such as deploying the detailed care records systems.
The estimated total cost of the NPfIT has changed since a 2011 report, said the NAO, from £11.4bn to £9.8bn after reducing the number of system implementations.