According to a spending review carried out by the Department of Health, the NHS will need an increase of £5.6 billion in funding in order to deliver its technology plans.
Negotiations in the health sector are still unfolding ahead of the government’s 25th November spending review announcement.
This document is expected to set all government spending plans until the end of the decade, with current proposals for spending on IT in the NHS considered unknown.
Details of the funding issue in the NHS have been outlined by a paper produced by DH director of informatics delivery management Tim Donohoe.
This paper was discussed at the National Information Board’s October board meeting.
It is stated by the document that spending on technology in the NHS needs to increase between an estimated range of £3.3 billion to £5.6 billion.
The Treasury is challenged to invest more work on refining the costs for the sector, with investment in data and digital management considered to be particularly important in the overall spend.
It is important to emphasise that this is not a finalised document, with the paper declaring itself to be draft analysis subject to internal review and validation by NHS stakeholders.
And with numerous stakeholders potentially affected by this issue, there could yet be changes to the preliminary plans.
Nonetheless, the Department of Health has spent the last three months identifying appropriate technology programs and digging into their estimated costs and benefits.
This initiative has been conducted in collaboration with consultants Deloitte and McKinsey.
It was reported back in June that work carried out for NHS England by McKinsey had calculated that IT expenditure in the NHS could ultimately result in efficiency savings of £10 billion by the end of the decade.
NHS England has indicated that the report from which this figure is derived will be published by the end of this month.
The £10 billion figure will be particularly encouraging for the Conservative government and the hierarchy of the NHS, as the Tories have already challenged the health service to find efficiency savings in the region of £25 billion by 2020.
This new report on NHS IT expenditure sets out nine ‘domains” in which it needs to find funding, with a breakdown of requirements in these areas.
The biggest of these domains is paper-free health care and related transactions, with the research suggesting that projects in this field will require over £3 billion of investment.
With the government already committed to increasing NHS spending by £8 billion, it will be interesting to see how the spending review responds to this research.