IT spending cuts of 12 per cent per year in the NHS will have a severe impact on patients' care and experience, according to a survey of 100 NHS IT directors.
The survey, commissioned by IT services company 2e2, found that 87 per cent of the respondents said they were under pressure to cut costs to achieve the government's aim to save £20bn from the NHS budget by 2014-15.
According to 2e2, this translates to a 4 per cent saving per year across the NHS as a whole, and IT departments are being hit hardest as each needs to make an average saving of 10 per cent in 2012 and 12 per cent each subsequent year until 2015.
"Not only do they need to make large savings; they are also tasked with providing the foundations to help improve healthcare standards through supplying more patient-centric services and giving clinicians more face-time with patients," said head of healthcare at 2e2, Adam Kamruddin.
Kamruddin explained that for IT to become a vital part of providing healthcare it would require more investment, and 71 per cent of IT directors believed that their current IT infrastructure is not capable of supporting these objectives.
"Pairing this with the need to cut costs makes for a tricky balancing act; 93 per cent of IT directors are concerned that cutting IT costs will have a negative impact on both patient care and experience," he said.
The challenge could be made greater because of a lack of an underlying strategy: only 41 per cent of respondents had a clear strategic vision and roadmap for IT, while 61 per cent admitted needing more IT strategy and planning skills within their department.
One factor could be a lack of co-operation between IT and senior management, as 54 per cent of respondents believe that senior management does not understand how IT can be used to transform patient care.
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