Industry News

NHS ICT Expenditure in a Nutshell – A Closer Look at Spend for 2020/21


The Evolution of NHS Spend on ICT-Related Services:

Since 2015/16, spending on ICT related services has continually increased within the NHS, but particularly for 2020/21 the level of increase has been more significant in comparison to previous years. To that end, we are now able to identify some of the biggest NHS spenders on back office services, ICT infrastructure, and software development services.

By using Oxygen Finance’s Illuminator system to aggregate spend data from Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG), Acute Trusts, Mental Health Trusts, Community Healthcare Trusts, Commissioning Support Units (CSU), and the recently added NHS Boards (Scotland), we are able to report that NHS spending across the ICT market has continued to increase, and in some cases reach record figures for 2020/21. The total NHS spend for 2020/21 amounted to £3.24bn, which was an increase of nearly 33% over 2019/20, with Acute Trust spending rising to £1.94bn and £381.92M for Mental Health Trusts, which equated to an increase of 33.79% and just over 29% respectively.

NHS ICT Expenditure in a Nutshell – A Closer Look at Spend for 2020/21
F/Y Breakdown of Total NHS Spending on ICT Related Services

Back Office Services:

Total NHS spending across back office services for 2020/21 rose by nearly 19% in comparison to the previous year, rising by nearly £100M to a record figure of £572.57M. In doing so, Acute Trust spending rose to £164.49M, and notably, the top 10 spenders included Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, and University Hospitals Bristol and Western NHS Foundation Trust. CCGs also increased their total expenditure by even more than that of Acute Trusts, specifically by 25.42% to a total of £306.72M. The notable top CCG spenders for 2020/21 included Northampton CCG, South West London CCG, and Kent and Medway CCG.

ICT Infrastructure:

Using the Illuminator system’s data, total NHS spending on ICT infrastructure-related services increased by nearly 60% in comparison to 2019/20 – representing the largest year-on-year increase, and early indications show that total spending for 2021/22 will eclipse £1bn. More specifically, spending by Community Healthcare Trusts rose by over 62% to £14M, and Acute Trust spending rose to £420.14M, an increase of over £150M in comparison to 2019/20. Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust, and London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust were among the largest spenders within the Acute Trusts.

Software Applications, Development and Support:

Finally, spending on software applications, development and support services increased to £977.15M for 2020/21, which is a record number according to Illuminator, and represents an increase of over £300M compared to 2019/20. Among the most significant catalysts for this exponential growth in spending, CCG spending surpassed £100M for the first time, and Acute Trust spending increased to £677.25M – the largest yearly increase recorded. The largest Acute Trust spenders included Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, and Barts Health NHS Trust.

Further Information:

Oxygen Finance’s Illuminator provides a real-time market overview of public sector/supplier spend, facilitating advanced procurement decision making. For more information, go to:

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