The contract for one of the first, big national IT projects to be rolled out across the NHS will be re-tendered this autumn.
The Department of Health has issued a pre-tender for a framework contract to provide the Electronic Staff Record, which was built to replace a plethora of HR, payroll and associated systems with a single, national workforce solution.
The current contract for the provision of the ESR, which is held by McKesson Information Solutions, will come to an end on 31 August 2014.
The DH announced in May last year that a feasibility study would be conducted to decide whether to retain it.
An update on the NHS ESR website says the study is now complete and the Department of Health has “concluded that there is a clear economic case for ongoing central payment of ESR, and this is now being taken forward as the preferred option for the business case.”
A supplier conference will be held on 18 September to outline plans for the future of the ESR and NHS pension administration services.
The DH awarded the original, £325m contract for an integrated HR and payroll system to McKesson in 2001. At the time, it was the largest IT contract awarded by the NHS.
The DH said it was looking to replace 29 payroll and 38 HR systems in use in NHS trusts and to save £400m over the course of the contract through improved staff management and reduced administration costs.
The contract was placed during a brief enthusiasm for “corporate” services for the health service, triggered by New Labour's 'NHS Plan' reforms.
The department planned a similar scale project to create a finance and e-commerce system, but this never materialised.
The ESR itself suffered a number of early delays. However, its roll-out was eventually completed in 2008. In 2011, it was upgraded with new management tools from Oracle.
A series of FAQs on the NHS ESR website says that many of the organisations being set up to run the reformed NHS – including the NHS Commissioning Board – are planning to use the ESR.
They also say the system will continue to play an important role in NHS efficiency and quality initiatives.
© 2012 EHealth Media.
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