HC Deb 31 March 1993 vol 222 cc234-5W
Ms Primarolo

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what was the total bill to the national health service for computer systems including software in the last 10 years; what is the current projected budget for computers over the public expenditure planning period; and what is the nature and cost of each child surveillance computer system for each region in the last 10 years;

(2) what were the total amounts written off in respect of ineffective computer systems in each of the last three years per region.

Mr. Sackville

Expenditure incurred by health authorities in England on computers and related costs became separately identifiable in their annual accounts from 1983–84. Figures for the financial years 1983–84 to 1991–92, which cover all relevant expenditure incurred by the health authorities in their management and direct provision of all hospital and community health services (HCHS), are shown in the table.

Comprehensive information on health authorities' projected expenditure on computers, on the costs incurred on child surveillance computer systems, and on any ineffective computer systems is not available centrally.

Hospital and Community Health Services (HCHS)— Expenditure on computers and computing
Revenue Purchase of hardware and operational software £000 (cash) Revenue Maintenance of hardware and software (including licensing fees)£000 (cash) Revenue Contract Services £000 (cash) Capital Purchase of hardware and operational software £000 (cash)
1983–84 6,311 5,715 2,980 21,335
1984–85 9,658 7,469 4,750 35,523
1985–86 12,414 11,198 5,618 47,175
1986–87 16,347 15,365 9,041 65,025
1987–88 19,657 32,129 7,576 68,892
Revenue Purchase of hardware and operational software £000 (cash) Revenue Maintenance of hardware and software (including licensing fees) £000 (cash) Revenue Contract Services£000 (cash) Capital Purchase of hardware and operational software£000 (cash)
1988–89 26,603 28,893 8,800 62,465
1989–90 41,357 32,261 13,091 94,522
1990–91 61,538 44,216 28,809 119,233
1991–92 49,871 65,268 35,281 131,710
1 Main frame systems only. Excludes an element within a total of £103.5 million for office and information technology equipment. (Note 3 to the table refers).


(a) Annual accounts (1983–84 to 1990–91) and annual financial returns (1991–92) of regional and district health authorities in England and those of the special health authorities for the London postgraduate teaching hospitals.

(b) 1991–92 annual financial returns of the first wave NHS trusts.


1. HCHS covers all services directly managed or accounted for by the health authorities and NHS Trusts including hospital, community health, patient transport (ie ambulance), blood transfusion and other services.

2. Revenue "purchases" may include elements for rent and leasing. There is some discontinuity in the series of figures for "maintenance" and "contract services" as since 1987–88, the latter category is intended to include only expenditure incurred on contracts for data processing services.

3. The figures for 1991–92 (which are derived from annual financial returns rather than accounts) are provisional. Following the introduction of capital asset accounting and changes to the analyses provided in annual financial returns the figure for capital expenditure is not comparable to those for earlier years. It represents expenditure only on mainframe information technology (IT) systems and excludes additional expenditure on computers within a total of some £103.5 million for "office and IT equipment" and which is not separately identifiable centrally.

4. The table excludes the comparatively small costs incurred by family health services authorities and special health authorities providing central services to the National Health Service.

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