DoH invests £300m in bid to streamline HR in NHS

The Department of Health is investing £300m in an integrated HR and payroll
system for the NHS in a bid to increase efficiency.

The Government intends to streamline the 30 different HR systems in the NHS
into one. It wants an integrated system in place by mid-2004, with
implementation from April 2002.

Philip Hewitson, chief executive of NHS Shared Services, said that all
payroll and HR details of the 1.2m staff in England and Wales will be
transferred on to the integrated system.

"This provides a common system for staff recruitment and management,
and will let managers get on with their jobs," he said.

The NHS recruits an estimated 275,000 staff a year in England and Wales, of
which 200,000 already work in the health service.

It is intended that the system will be extended to provide self-service HR
and remote access for managers, explained Hewitson.

Alistair Henderson, policy manager for the NHS Confederation, said,
"Hopefully, it can offer information on staff, which would be helpful
under the Race Relations Act. It’s good news if it assists with the mechanical
and administrative side of HR."

HR professionals in the NHS are waiting to see if the DoH can effectively
update its HR systems.

John Adsett, head of project development at Basildon and Thurrock Hospitals
NHS Trust, said, "I’m in a wait-and-see mood. There have been a number of
attempts in the past to integrate the systems, and I hope that this one has
cracked it. It is something we should have had years ago."

He added, "If this system can simplify the process for submitting data
on staff and increase efficiency, then I’d welcome it."

A consortium, headed by McKesson HBOC and including Oracle,
PricewaterhouseCoopers and IBM, is the preferred supplier for the system,
Oracle HRMS.

By Karen Higginbottom

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