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NSW Health launches $49m phase of ICT Strategy

by Paris Cowan •
Free resource

ICT vendors in NSW will soon have the opportunity to win a slice of the $48.7 million in new funding allocated to the roll-out of stage 2B of NSW Health’s Corporate Systems strategy in the latest budget.

While only $2.9 million has been allocated in to be spent in 2011-12, tender processes leading to heftier expenditures could commence within the next 12 months.

The Corporate Systems Strategy is one of the central components of the Health Department’s ten year ICT Strategy, launched in 2006. In addition to the Corporate Systems Strategy, this overarching ICT Strategy has three other main elements:

  • The Clinical Systems Strategy;
  • The Business Intelligence Systems Strategy; and
  • The Infrastructure Strategy.

The Corporate Systems Strategy underpins a wider corporate services reform program at the Department, and ultimately aims to reduce the cost of administrative functions so that the savings can be channelled back into frontline care.

A spokesperson for Health Support Services, the shared services unit managing the project, has confirmed that no contracts have been signed for Stage 2B to date.

She said the project planning was due to be carried out over the coming months.

These planning stages account for the low 2011-12 budget.

According to the latest budget papers, the $48.7 million in new capital allocation is earmarked for expenditure over the financial years 2011-12 to 2014-15.  The project timeline intensifies the rate of work, and hence the rate of expenditure in the later years.

In 2009 $94.6 million was allocated to the implementation of the earlier Stages of the Corporate Systems Strategy.  Of a remaining $71.9million, $20.3 million will be spent this current financial year.

Stage 1 of the strategy was primarily concerned with the overhaul of NSW Health’s human resources system, but also included the licensing of upgrades to the existing finance systems.

Stage 2A of the Corporate Systems Strategy, which is due for completion in 2014, focuses on Rostering and Asset Management systems.

Stage 2B will cover:

  • Education and training in e-recruitment systems;
  • Workforce management systems;
  • Additional components to be added to the Human Resource Information System (HRIS) implemented as part of Stage 1 of the Strategy; and
  • The migration of the finance systems updated as part of Stage 1 into the ‘Oracle State Based Build’.

In total, $224 million in funding was allocated to the implementation of the various components of the ICT Strategy in the 2011-12 Budget.

More than $170 million in new capital funding was put towards the roll-out of an Electronic Medications Management System in the 2011-12 Budget.

$73 million in funding sourced from previous year Budgets will be also be expended in the current financial year.

NSW Health has issued a restricted Request for Tender (RFT) for the provision of hardware associated with the electronic Medical Record (eMR) implementation across the South-West Area Health Service. The eMR is a key component of the Clinical Systems Strategy.

Just prior to the handing down of the NSW Budget, the new Minister for Health Jillian Skinner announced a raft of reforms aimed at restructuring the state’s public health system.

As part of this reform package it was announced that the ICT functions currently sitting within Health Support Services would reorganised into a new ICT unit - eHealth NSW.

The implementation of this new unit will involve the design and implementation of a new and fully integrated Information Systems Strategic Plan.  NSW Health has not elaborated on whether this plan will complement or replace the existing 10 year ICT Strategy, which is not due to expire until 2016.

A spokesperson for the department has advised Intermedium that a recruitment process to find a Chief Executive for the unit will soon be underway.

 “The recruitment to the position of Chief Executive of ehealth will commence once the governance arrangements for the new ehealth agency have been finalised.  It is anticipated this will be resolved before the end of the year,” she said. 

This means that the acting CIO at Health, Greg may have to contest the position if he so desires, a standard procedure when re-organisations occur.

Wells has been in the position since Craig Smith resigned in June last year.

All of the latest ICT Budget allocations and ICT policy developments will be covered as part of Intermedium’s annual NSW Budget Briefing, to be held on Thursday 29 September in North Sydney. This is an unmissable opportunity for anyone involved in the state’s public sector ICT market to gain an insight into the priorities of the new Coalition Government.

Just a handful of seats remain, so register now.


Related Articles:

NSW Health Minister lays out $170 million for e-Health


NSW Budget 2011: First count identifies $800 million in ICT Capital Expenditure


NSW Health contracts shine a light on Corporate Systems activity


  • NSW
  • Software
  • Health
  • 2011-12 Budget
  • Craig Smith
  • eHealth NSW
  • Greg Wells
  • Jillian Skinner
  • NSW Health
  • NSW Health ICT Strategy