Costs from implementation delays to the UK National Health Service's £12.4 billion National Programme for IT (NPfIT) have contributed to pushing hospital trusts into deficit, a committee of MPs has found.
The Commons public accounts committee's inquiry on financial deficits in the NHS – which totalled £570 million in 2005-06 – found that costs arising from NPfIT delays were among the factors pushing hospital and primary care trusts into the red.
In a report on the inquiry, the committee said 14 NHS trusts had asked the Department of Health (DoH) for contributions to costs incurred as a result of delays in the implementation of NPfIT.
The report added that information on how much had been claimed by each trust was not available from the DoH, "as the requests include a mixture of one-off costs, ongoing costs, alternative interim solutions and unspecified amounts."
The DoH had "not to date made any such payments," it added.
NHS trusts facing the financial fall-out from NPfIT delays are unable to seek legal redress from the IT program's suppliers because NPfIT systems are delivered under contracts signed between the government and lead contractors CSC, Fujitsu and BT, to which NHS trusts are merely third parties. Trusts would need to secure permission from the health secretary – who is the contract holder – in order to sue.