The ninth wave of NHS organisations have gone live with the integrated HR and payroll system, the NHS Electronic Staff Record (ESR); as a result 476 organisations covering 949,470 NHS employees are now using the system. 

The £300m 15-year Department of Health project is being delivered by a consortium led by health IT specialist McKesson, which includes Oracle and IBM. 

According to McKesson the main contractor behind the ESR project, by the time of the final wave 12 in April 2008 1.2m NHS staff will be using the integrated HR and payroll system, representing 7% of the UK’s working population.

Over the next eight months, the remaining three waves containing 144 NHS organisations will go live on ESR.

The system is designed to transform the way in which the NHS delivers both HR and payroll services to its employees. Before ESR local NHS organisations had been operating with 67 disparate HR and payroll systems each of which record workforce data in a slightly different way.

McKesson says it is now over three quarters of the way through replacing these disparate legacy systems with an integrated Oracle Human Resources and Payroll system. The new system provides the NHS with a solution that integrates both HR and Payroll systems nationally.

Simon Willcock, ESR programme director said: “Until recently, we had no consistent way of collecting and monitoring employee information and were relying on resource intensive fragmented systems – leading to duplication, inconsistency and error, as well as a critical lack of management information."

The ESR system also incorporates an e-learning system, designed to teach NHS employees how to get the most value from the system, thereby minimising the amount of training time healthcare practitioners would otherwise need.

In the next stage of the ESR programme the 1.2m NHS employees will start to be provided with self-service access to the system, enabling them to update their own records with change of name or address details.

Charmaine McDonald UK managing director of McKesson, commented: “The ESR project is an ideal opportunity to increase the efficiency of the NHS and concurrently its service provision. As healthcare specialists, McKesson has been able to work with a team of partners and people to develop a system that fits the nuances of the industry."

A recent Office of Government Commerce review said of the ESR programme: “The project is on course for a Green [status]. There is every prospect that national roll-out will be completed as planned.”