NHS spending on IT will increase over the next five years in response to pressures on the health service, an EHI Intelligence report has found.

This year’s market sizing, forecast and trends report, which looks at IT spend across the UK, says trusts in England will need to invest in software as the National Programme for IT comes to an end, and they look to improve efficiency and quality in response to financial and regulatory challenges.  

This will lead to increased spending on infrastructure, hardware and staff and – eventually – cloud services and outsourcing.

EHI Intelligence collected actual and predicted spending figures from the majority of NHS trusts in England, and found they spent a total of £1.3 billion on NHS IT last year and plan to spend £1.4 billion in 2013-14.

EHI Intelligence forecasts that this will rise to £1.5 billion next year and £1.6 billion by 2016-17, the final financial year covered by the report.

SA Mathieson, senior analyst for EHI Intelligence, said he expects significant growth in spending on patient administration systems and the key departmental and clinical functionality that goes with them to create an electronic patient record.

However, he noted that the legacy of the national programme means suppliers face a “complicated picture” in the different local service provider regions.

“Some trusts have National Programme for IT systems they want to build on, some want to replace them and some never got them in the first place,” he said.

“They also differ in whether they want to use a single suite of software for their PAS and other clinical functions, or prefer to use a range of suppliers. In this and other areas, suppliers will have to tailor their sales efforts to individual trusts rather than taking a generic approach.”

The report adds that many mental health and community trusts are coming to the end of their contracts set up under the National Programme for IT and their spend on new IT systems and mobile technologies is likely to increase substantially.

“These trusts may lead the way in mobile and modern working, as a result of their highly mobile workforces and clients,” says the report. 

EHI Intelligence also identifies health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s ‘paperless’ agenda, the ‘Safer Hospitals, Safer Wards: Technology Fund’ and the Nursing Technology Fund as key drivers in energising the IT market in England.

It notes that the situation is different in Scotland, Ireland and Wales, where more spending is determined nationally, and health boards often work from single framework contracts.

The Market Forecast report details the split and identifies key elements of national spending in the devolved administrations for the first time.

EHI Intelligence’s 'UK healthcare IT market forecast 2017' is published today. It is available as part of an EHI Intelligence Platinum and Gold subscription or for £2,245 plus VAT.

To buy the report or a subscription to EHI Intelligence, please contact Dan Read on +44 20 7785 6925 or via dan@e-health-media.com.