Multi-million pound deal vital to healthcare staff development

The
creation of a £325m integrated HR and payroll system for the NHS will provide the
service with a fundamental building block for developing healthcare staff.

This
is the view of Andrew Foster, HR director for the NHS, who has 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 different HR systems in the health
service with one fully integrated payroll and HR system for 1 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 out most important
asset – our staff – which in turn will realise more improved and effective
patient care.

"It
will reduce the need for double handling of information, allowing skilled staff
to be able to devote more of their time to manage 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 in England and
Wales at least £400m over 10 years.

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,
and then piloted at 16 other NHS trusts across England and Wales for a further
six months before being rolled out in full across the health service.

By Ben Willmott

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