The Department of Health will not use the £208m saved by the national programme for IT last year to estimate the total potential savings of NHS-wide implementation.

A DH "benefits statement" published last week said the programme had saved the NHS£208m in 2006-07.

The statement, the first annual progress report requested by the National Audit Office, said the£208m was the gross saving to March 2007 made by the 20 per cent of NHS trusts that have implemented new national systems and decommissioned local systems.

DH IT implementation director Richard Jeavons said the figure should be subtracted from the£12.4bn planned total costs of the programme, cutting the net cost to£12.2bn. He refused to say whether the DH expected the same savings across trusts that had not implemented systems, or that lacked data.

The DH statement included information on system deployments to March 2007. Connecting for Health has given HSJ a more up to date tally (see table).

By March 2007,£2.4bn had been spent on implementation - two thirds of what CfH planned by then. Officials said that did not mean the programme was delayed by that much.

National programme clinical lead for GPs Dr Gillian Braunold said the programme was designed to achieve non-cash benefits such as patient safety. CfH will attempt to quantify some of these in its benefits statement next year.

Selected systems in place to March 2008

SystemTotal systems in place
Electronic prescription service


Choose and book




Picture archiving


Theatre systems36
Accident and emergency systems20
Maternity systems


Source: NHS Connecting for Health updated figures to March 2008