New NHS payroll system frees up staff for patients

The creation of a £325m integrated HR and payroll system for the NHS will
provide a significant boost for staff development.

This is the view of Andrew Foster, HR director for the NHS, who last week
announced the award of the multi-million pound contract to a consortium led by
McKesson.

The 10-year deal will see the consortium, which also includes Oracle, PwC
Consulting and IBM, replace the 29 different payroll and 38 various HR systems
in the health service with one fully integrated payroll and HR system for a
million NHS staff.

Foster said the move will provide the NHS with common HR and pay processes
to manage staff, recruitment and absenteeism effectively.

The new system will help the health service analyse skills gaps, recruit
staff proactively and identify areas where flexible working can be introduced.

Foster said, "This is a fundamental building block for developing our
most important asset – our staff – which in turn will realise more improved and
effective patient care.

"It will reduce the need for the double handling of information,
allowing skilled staff to devote more time to managing services."

The deal includes the option of Internet-type technologies for
e-recruitment, e-learning and employee self-rostering.

The Department of Health believes the system should save the NHS at least
£400m over 10 years in England and Wales.

It will pay for itself through better staff management and effective pay and
HR polices designed to reduce administration, develop skills and help retain
staff – so cutting recruitment costs.

The system will initially be tested at University Hospital Birmingham NHS
Trust, then piloted at 16 other NHS trusts across England and Wales for a
further six months. It will then be rolled out in full across the health
service.

By Ben Willmott

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