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Thursday 15 October 2020

NHS England considers integrated cloud ERP

NHS logoNHS England has announced a Discovery Project intended to assess the viability of introducing an integrated cloud-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution for the NHS in England.

The Prior Information Notice (PIN) states that the project will build upon the work being performed within the Electronic Staff Record (ESR) and Integrated Single Finance Environment (ISFE) programmes.

The ESR is used by almost every NHS organisation in England to manage human resources and payroll records. The current system is based on Oracle's e-Business suite and since 2015 has been managed by IBM (see IBM to take NHS staff record baton from McKesson). On top of this platform, organisations have individually procured a wide range of additional systems and developed their own business processes, creating significant complexity.

The ISFE was launched in 2013 as part of a strategy to replace legacy systems with one accounting platform across the whole commissioning landscape. The national payment platform is provided by NHS Shared Business Services—the contract currently runs until 2021.

The Department of Health & Social Care is currently considering the re-procurement of the ESR and NHS England is considering the replacement of the ISFE finance system. These programmes are scheduled to go live in two to three years.

Documents supporting the PIN state, "there is now a once in a generation opportunity to look at whether a cloud-based integrated ERP solution will add significant additional value and investigate whether it can scale to the complexity and size of NHS in England."

NHS England appear to be under no illusion as to the scale and complexity of this idea. The current systems are used by over 450 separate organisations and over 1.7 million employees. The potential functions for an integrated ERP include recruitment, HR, payroll, learning, talent management, finance, procurement, planning and budgeting. The NHS’s workforce is its largest asset, accounting for about 70% of its total costs. And as the National Audit Office said in May this year,  previous attempts to deliver digital transformation, including the National Programme for IT (NPfIT), have been expensive and largely unsuccessful (see NAO raises NHS digital transformation concerns).

A vendor engagement session is due to take place on 19 October  to discuss this opportunity and suppliers have until midday today (15 October) to submit questions.

Posted by: Dale Peters

Tags: nhs   erp   opportunity   healthcare   healthtech  

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