Trusts are being fined millions of pounds for failing to lend staff to computer contractors running the troubled national IT programme.

Trusts are being fined millions of pounds for failing to lend staff to computer contractors running the troubled national IT programme.

Trusts in the Southern cluster have had to pay a total of£19m to buy themselves out of the obligation to provide employees to Fujitsu.

Agreements in other IT programme clusters also commit the NHS to paying millions if it cannot supply staff. Trusts in the cluster serving the North West and West Midlands will have to find a total of£6.9m a year if they fail to provide 50 full-time employees.

North East and Eastern regions are tied into agreements to supply 242,000 staff days over the ten years of the contract, although there is no penalty attached.

Conservative MP Richard Bacon, who obtained the figures, said: ?At a time when hard-pressed NHS trusts are having to make painful choices in order to reduce deficits, they are being forced to pay money they don?t have and release staff they can?t spare, for something they don?t want and which doesn?t work.?

The Department of Health, in a written answer to Mr Bacon, said the system of supplying staff ensured that new IT systems would meet the needs of the service.

Mr Bacon, a member of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, told HSJ that the minister?s response failed to give enough detail. ?It is a classic sign of a bad project that there is this kind of secrecy,? he added.