Recruiter Insights: How is Brexit shaping NHS tech?

about 1 year ago by Zoe Green, Elizabeth Fajardo

Recruiter Insights: How is Brexit shaping NHS tech?


The vote to leave the European Union is making a significant impression on the shape and size of government.

In the 2017 Autumn Budget, the Chancellor announced an extra £250m had been shared among departments in 2017/18. Now, a further £3bn has been set aside to fund Brexit over the next two years. This acceleration in Government spend will be shared across the six departments but thankfully, expenditure has started on big technology and infrastructure programmes.

Whilst relatively small to date (many are still in the policy design stage or dependent on the outcome of certain negotiations), government has demonstrated a focus on ‘border technology’. It is estimated that an additional £21m has been committed to customs systems since the referendum, with significant cost increases to the Customs Declaration Service (CDS) programme. But what does this mean for the NHS, and the funding to its technology?

As we head into the 70th Anniversary of the NHS, it’s important to look at the direction that the NHS is moving in. Since the Five Year Forward View in 2014, the UK has been envisioning a paperless and more digital NHS. However, it’s important to acknowledge that implementation of new IT systems takes time, and now Brexit and a focus on ‘border technology’ will further impact this.

Whilst Digital Road Mapping and transformation programmes are well on their way in some organisations, others feel they are under pressure to meet their targets. We’re all aware that there is a package of funding allocated to make the necessary changes in the NHS, but is this funding being evenly spread?

From the conversations Goodman Masson have had across NHS clients, some have expressed that a lack of funding is hampering their ability to bring in the skilled work force required to drive such projects. For example, e-Prescribing is now being regarded as a vital requirement for any modern Acute Trust due to clinical safety benefits and information flow, yet there are an outstanding number of Trusts who cannot get STP funding to rollout the system. However, some of our larger Trusts and Commissioning bodies have expressed the funding is there (albeit tight), but it’s about getting the right talent in to the sector.

Digitalhealth recently published an article entitled ‘Research suggests digital skills gap in health sector blocks innovation’. The article suggests that there needs to be a larger emphasis placed on to digital and data literacy as a ‘digital skills gap’ within the health sector could be the stumbling block to innovation.