The chief technology office and some of the functions of the Department of Health Informatics Directorate will transfer to the new NHS Commissioning Board in Leeds.
But the future of other national IT services has yet to be resolved, according to a document published today that gives more information on the structure and funding of the NHS CB.
The document, issued ahead of an NHS CB meeting tomorrow, indicates that its ‘patient engagement, insight and informatics’ directorate will have at least 91 whole time equivalent staff, with up to 70 more transferring from the DH and DHID.
It is likely to have a budget of around £40m – although significant ‘non pay and programme costs’ have “yet to be resolved” – to lead on Open Data initiatives, promote patient voice and choice, commission ‘My Health’ programmes on issues such as patient access to records, and house the technology office and DHID staff.
Missing from the document is any reference to NHS Connecting for Health, the structures set up to run the National Programme for IT in the NHS, and some of the functions CfH took over from the old NHS Information Authority.
EHI understands that their future and funding has still to be decided; although it looks increasingly likely that they will sit outside the new NHS CB, which is in the process of refining its role as a commissioning support body focused on showing better outcomes for patients.
The document also puts more flesh on the bones of the way the NHS CB will work. As previously indicated, the NHS CB will have four “commissioning sectors” based on cluster strategic health authority areas.
But it will also have 50 “local offices” based on cluster primary care trusts. The document says these will support the move to clinical commissioning.
Eventually, they will not operate as “separate entities in their own right” but as part of the NHS CB operations directorate.
In total, the NHS CB expects to have a workforce of around 3,500, 800 of whom will work in Leeds, 200 in the commissioning sectors and 2,500 in the local offices.
It wants no more than five layers of management between the centre and the “front line” in this set-up.
The document also puts the running costs of the NHS CB at £492m for 2014-15, once the costs of setting up the new system have been worked through.