Finance directors at the NHS have been warned off procuring new financial systems over the next two years as the NHS Executive prepares to consolidate the provision of financial services across the service.
NHS director of finance and performance Colin Reeves wrote to NHS finance leaders last week with an update on the shared services initiative, which could see financial services for the whole English NHS run from between eight and 25 operational centres.
He unveiled plans to define a specification for national general ledger systems. This national specification will pave the way for shared service centres, following the route of the new human resources and payroll system, which will lead to a single payroll system replacing the 31 currently in use.
‘If your organisation is considering the procurement of new financial systems in the next two years these systems may only be needed for a relatively short period of time,’ said Reeves. ‘You may wish to re-examine that decision.’
A study earlier in the year by KPMG, which estimated the NHS could save between £130m and £180m from implementing shared services, said it was crucial for the NHS to standardise its financial systems. While a private company would be unlikely to allow individual sites to run different systems, the NHS uses numerous packages..
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