New Research Reveals NHS Acute Trusts Set to Spend £800m per Year on Health IT by 2015

Ehealth InsiderNHS acute trusts in England will be spending around £800m a year on IT in four years time, as they respond to the end of the National Programme for IT in the NHS and other pressures, new research shows. The 'Market by numbers' report from EHI Intelligence launched at EHI Live 2012, reveals that total IT spend in this sector will increase by 4.2% in 2012 - 2013, despite overall trust budgets remaining flat. It also shows that spending will continue to grow in each of the following four years, reaching £829m in 2015 - 2016. This is in marked contrast to the squeeze on public sector spending that is expected over the remaining years of the present Parliament.

EHealth Insider editor Jon Hoeksma and eHealth Media director of research Paul Smith, presented the new research and its more detailed findings at EHI Live 2012 which took place on 6th / 7th November at the NEC Birmingham.

Hoeksma said: "Among the encouraging signs to emerge from this survey is evidence that acute trust boards are starting to recognise the value of IT, the need to protect IT investments, and to place more value on the IT departments that make them.

"At a time of austerity, when the public sector is looking to shed staff, and NHS trusts are talking about losing a significant proportion of their headcount, this report demonstrates that IT staff are being shielded from the worst of what is coming and that represents a considerable vote of confidence in healthcare IT by trusts and their boards."

Spend on IT staff was just one area covered at the launch presentation of the survey results as it also included a breakdown of spending by acute trusts on services, software, hardware and communications until 2016, as well as an insight into the market conditions influencing current and future spend on big-ticket software applications such as Picture Archiving Communication Systems (PACS) and Radiology Information Systems (RIS), Electronic Patient Records (EPR) and Patient Administration Systems (PAS).

The reports key findings include:

  • The IT spending for which NHS acute trusts in England are directly responsible is around £800m per year; with a small amount of additional funding coming from the remains of the National Programme for IT in the NHS.
  • Despite overall trust budgets remaining flat, the total IT spend in NHS acute trust sector will increase by 4.2% in 2012 - 2013.
  • Almost all categories of IT product spend will increase over the next five years, with significant increases for IT services, hardware and software, and smaller but significant increases for IT staff.
  • Patient administration system replacements, PAS plus projects, and electronic patient record programmes will remain by far the biggest market opportunity. EHI Intelligence predicts that £141m will be spent on PASs by 2015 - 2016.

These forecasts are based on key data collected through EHI Intelligence's in-depth interview programme with NHS IT directors, the 100,000 data points on the EHI Intelligence NHS Trust Database, and insight from suppliers selling to the market.

Smith said: "Our market forecasts are based on a model that, we believe, provides the most reliable and accurate insight available into the financial trends, status and prospects of the NHS IT market. While the news today is full of stories of public sector spending squeezes and financial cutbacks, our research as a whole paints a more nuanced picture for the NHS IT sector."

About EHI Intelligence
EHI Intelligence provides, to both the NHS and suppliers, the most up-to-date and exhaustive data, insight and analysis, delivered through a database, procurement alert service, research bulletins and market trend reports. At the heart of the service is the EHI Intelligence NHS Trust Database which provides the most comprehensive and accurate source of data on the systems in use by individual NHS trusts. The database provides detailed IT profiles of NHS trusts and bodies in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland together with data on their current and future planned IT spend. Click for further information on the survey.

About eHealth Insider
EHealth Insider is the leading daily health IT news service in the UK. Providing lively and independent news, analysis and insight into developments in healthcare IT and information use.

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