The NHS care.data programme has been hit with further controversy after a Freedom of Information (FOI) request revealed that of the £1.3m spent so far, most went on marketing.
Hundreds of thousands were spent on “raising awareness” leaflets sent to millions of households in the UK – despite this, the project has been delayed for six months due to a lack of public knowledge.
A total of £926,778 was given to distribution company Leaflet Co Ltd for awareness leaflets, while business process outsourcing firm Williams Lea received £308,491 for providing print and print management services.
In February, a BBC poll revealed that two-thirds of the British public “don’t recall” receiving care.data leaflets, while The Register revealed that households that have opted-out of receiving junk mail will not have received the leaflets all – suggesting money spent has been wasted.
Other expenditure was divided between marketing research businesses, travel management firms and production companies.
The £1.3m figure also includes expenditures on things such as meeting rooms, conferences and other events.
The request, made by a UK IT publication, also revealed that NHS England has no information on how much it intends to spend on care.data overall.
According to the health organisation, this lack of knowledge is because the amount spent is still subject to pending approvals on the overall programme.
Separate reports have claimed that the total spend could reach £50m, which, if accurate, means the NHS has a long way to go.
Currently, the NHS is spending money elsewhere on bringing the health service into the modern digital age.
Last week, it was announced £230m had been set aside to update GP IT systems across England.