Department of Health double IT headcount since start of the pandemic

The Department of Health

THE DEPARTMENT for Health and Social Care (DHSC), responsible for government policy on health and overseeing the NHS, has almost doubled its IT staff headcount since the start of the pandemic, according to official figures.

The research, which was retrieved via the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) and observed by the Parliament Street think tank, observed the number of IT staff employed, the total IT staff salary and the department’s IT budget increase year on year for the past five financial years.

Over the reporting period, the number of staff employed by the DHSC increased from 23 to 45, with a significant jump from 25 to 38 following the easing of government lockdown restrictions in 2021.

The total IT budget for the department also nearly doubled, from £26,215,827 in FY18/19 to a staggering £47,227,000 in FY22/23. IT staff salary increased from £874,182 in FY18/19 to £2,627,779 over the past year, a jump of over 200 per cent. 

The news comes following the recent cabinet reshuffle which moved the remit of digital policy away from the DHSC as well as the merger of NHS Digital with NHS England earlier this month.

Sridhar Iyengar, MD for Zoho Europe comments:

“The strain placed on the healthcare industry over recent years has demanded a significant increase in the adoption of technology to help manage the millions of terabytes of data handled by organisations. It is fantastic to see the Department of Health invest both in technology and its staff to meet these rising demands.”

“Organisations should maintain a level of high investment in both technology and IT staff to provide the tools to better store and access critical data, tackle administrative tasks efficiently, and oversee the communications process between patients, carers and professionals. Digital transformation is a key enabler for staff, empowering them to be more productive by being relieved through tools such as automation, and organisations should always be evaluating their current IT infrastructure to improve their operational purposes and enhance both customer and employee journeys.”

“Investment in staff should also prioritise training and upskilling, teaching them not only why certain technologies have been introduced but the benefits they provide them. Automation technology, for example, can greatly reduce the time taken to perform manual tasks, freeing healthcare staff and IT teams alike to engage in higher level, higher-impact activity, such as engaging with patients and answering important data queries.”

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