Delays in implementations and delivery of systems under the National Programme for IT over the last three years means that Connecting for Health has underspent by £828m on its original capital and revenue budgets, health minister Ben Bradshaw has revealed.

The majority of the underspend occurred in the last financial year, when CfH spent just £589m of its £1.05 billion capital budget, an under spend of £466m over year. In 2006-2007 it had been planned that deployment activity of core Care Records Systems would be peaking resulting in a peak in capital spending.

In addition, over the past three years CfH under spent by £216m on its revenue budget, with the biggest short fall (£120m) occurring in 2004-2005.

Despite this cumulative under spend of £615m over the last three years CfH still managed to spend a total of £2,407m up to the end of March 2007.

The figures were released by Bradshaw in a written answer to a question from the shadow health secretary, Andrew Lansley and highlight the financial impact on the programme and its main contractors of delivery delays on core Care Record systems.

Last week, Bradshaw revealed that CfH will spend a further £6.4bn over the next four years to 2011 with revenue spending set to increase, but capital spend reduced from the last financial year.

Lansley asked the DH “what the cash value of changes in the timetable for the delivery of the Connecting for Health programme in each financial year to date has been, broken down into (a) resource and (b) capital spending.”

Replying Bradshaw, revealed figures showing an under spend of £216m in revenue spend between 2004-05 and 2006-07, together with a £612m under spend in capital spend in the same time, as identified in the table below.

£ million   
Initial budget380.0623.0540.0
Initial budget400.0535.01055.0


Bradshaw said the funding was “both for ensuring delivery of the IT systems for the National Programme for Information Technology and for maintaining the critical business systems previously provided to the national health service by the former NHS Information Authority.”

He also confirmed that the expected costs of CfH in each financial year from 2007-08 to 2010-11, which he revealed last week from the government’s comprehensive spending review, were part of the £12.4 billion cost of the programme and not additional funds.

“The NHS Connecting for Heath Programme include both central funding and local expenditure to deliver better, safer care to patients, via new computer systems and services.

“A total cost of £12.4 billon (at 2004-05 prices) was identified in the National Audit Office report (June 2006) for total spending on the programme over its lifetime. This includes the comprehensive spending review period 2008-09 to 2010-11.”


Hansard sources