Health and social care

Review of the final benefits statement for programmes previously managed under the National Programme for IT in the NHS

Benefits are expected to exceed costs slightly over the life of the systems, but there is uncertainty around whether the benefits will be realised

NAO

The National Audit Office has reported the results of its review of a statement by the Department of Health of costs and benefits of the programmes previously managed under the National Programme for IT in the NHS.

The NAO report, published as a memorandum for the Committee of Public Accounts, finds the Department took a structured, logical approach to measuring and reporting costs and benefits. The Department forecasts that benefits will slightly exceed costs over the whole life of the systems, £10.7 billion compared with £9.8 billion.

There is, however, very considerable uncertainty around whether the forecast benefits will be realised. Around two-thirds (£6.6 billion) of the total estimated benefits are forecast to arise after March 2012. For three programmes, 98 per cent of the total estimated benefits were still to be realised. Some £2.5 billion (26 per cent) of the total costs are also forecast to arise after March 2012.

There is a range of risks to the realisation of future benefits. In particular, for some programmes, future benefits rely on the successful deployment of a set number of systems at a set time. Experience over the last ten years suggests this will be challenging to achieve, particularly in the case of the local care records systems.