The Ministry of Health has called in Deloitte to review the delayed National Oracle Solution (NOS) project ahead of a bid for more funding.
In its sector update newsletter, NZ Health Partnerships says it was advised in mid-December that Cabinet approval was required for the additional funding required to complete the NOS programme, previously budgeted at $65 million.
NZ Health Partnerships, which is responsible for finding collective cost savings for District Health Boards, advised DHB chairs, CEOs, CFOs and CIOs of this via teleconference on 19 December and a further update was provided on 8 February.
"To inform the Cabinet process, the Ministry of Health is leading an independent review of the NOS programme," the update says. "Deloitte has been engaged to undertake the review."
"At this stage we expect a Cabinet decision by end-April."
NZ Health Partnerships refused to say how much extra funding it is seeking while the Deloitte review is in progress.
It says in its update the programme is in good shape and all programme health indicators – scope, time, budget, resource, quality, risk and communications - would be green if not for the review.
"Wave 1 remains on schedule to go live in July 2018," it says. "The programme has successfully completed the second round of end-to-end testing of the system and the joint design council (JDC) have endorsed the programme’s request to move through this significant gate.
"The programme is positioned for the final round of testing which will see nominated DHB users get access to ensure the NOS performs as expected."
The system is described as being in its "penultimate state of configuration". This pre-production environment will form the template on which the final production environment will be built and to go-live in July.
The NOS aims to deliver procurement benefits, and replaces the DHBs’ ageing finance and supply chain systems.
Specifically, it includes receivables and debt collection; payable invoice processing and electronic payments; general ledger accounting and national month-end processing, alongside project and asset accounting; requisitions and purchasing; inventory management and replenishment; national catalogue and contract management and financial and management reporting.
Overall, NZ Health Partnerships says, the depth and breadth of NOS provides more features and functionality than any current DHB system.
"NOS represents the sector’s biggest opportunity to reduce non-labour costs, and in doing so improve patient care, and equity of access to technology," it says.
Outside of procurement benefits, NOS will help drive product standardisation across DHBs to in turn drive better clinical outcomes.
However, in December, Hutt Valley DHB's board noted that it considered (page 208) the NOS programme including deployment across the sector and the achievement of sector benefits to be "high risk".
"The Board strongly recommends that NZ Health Partnerships secure independent expert advice for the NZ Health Partnerships board and/or NOS steering group on the development and programme to mitigate potential risks of this project," the board said.
"This expert advice is different to that of the independent quality assurance on the process."
NOS was dependent on another platform project, the National Infrastructure Platform, which was initially meant to deploy on IBM's cloud, but after delays was widened to the other members of the all of government IaaS panel - Datacom and Revera.
That project appears to have been renamed the National Technology Solution.
"In 2019 the Wave 1 DHBs are scheduled to move to the National Technology Solution, followed by the remaining DHBs," NZ Health Partnerships' update said.
"The National Technology Solution will run the same system as Wave 1 will be using in July, but it is significantly more powerful infrastructure and will be built to manage all 20 DHBs.
"PwC have just reviewed the design for this infrastructure and not only given it a clean bill of health but stated that it is the most comprehensive piece of work that they have seen."