Headlines: November 23rd, 2004

The Department of Health has joined forces with a with private sector company in an initiative designed to save more than 200 million pounds in the provision of corporate services.The partnership with Xansa is also expected to improve and expand the range of corporate services provided for the National Health Service. The anticipated 220 million pounds in savings over the next ten years will be achieved by getting more NHS Trusts to use centralised service centres to carry out back office work. That could include payment of invoices, VAT returns, debt collection and bank account reconciliation.

The department said Trusts that contract to the new partnership when it comes into being at the beginning of April next year will save at least 20 per cent on current in-house costs. The money saved will be available for investment in frontline services and patient care.

The new joint company will be called NHS Shared Business Services Limited and Xansa will take a 50 per cent share in the existing centres currently operated by NHS Shared Financial Services. Under the partnership, Xansa will provide people, resources and expertise to support the existing centres, to provide increased capacity and to expand the portfolio of services to include new areas such as payroll and e-commerce applications.

The Health Minister, John Hutton said the agreement would help the NHS streamline back office functions, reduce bureaucracy and generate savings for reinvestment in services. He anticipated the savings would be equivalent to the annual salaries of over 3,000 GPs or 12,000 nurses.

David Thorpe, the Acting Managing Director of NHS Shared Financial Services, said a tremendous amount of work had been done to reach this point and the existing management and staff were pleased to be going forward in partnership.