NHS rolls out streamlined payroll system

The NHS has begun the roll-out of its delayed single payroll and HR system for the health service in England and Wales.

The first of 12 waves, each consisting of 41 trusts, started paying staff through the electronic staff record (ESR) within the last week, according to a report in the Health Service Journal.

The ESR will replace 29 payroll and at least 38 HR computer systems, with a single system for all health service organisations.

The system will allow staff moving between trusts to be treated as internal transfers rather than new employees, and it is estimated that this will save the NHS tens of millions of pounds every year.

However, the system is going live more than three years later than planned.

Jim O’Connell, ESR programme director, said the delay was in part due to the introduction of the Agenda for Change pay structure.

“The health service went through its two biggest changes in HR at the same time. This meant building a version of ESR for the old pay scales, then another for Agenda for Change,” he said.

And O’Connell said it would take a period of culture change to persuade trust HR departments not to use the old paper records.

“They are like comfort blankets – we’ll have to drag them out of the HR departments,” he said.

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