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Covid-19 pandemic delays HSE financial system reform

The implementation of the HSE’s planned integrated financial management service (IFMS) will be delayed as a result of Covid-19, the Medical Independent (MI) can report.

IFMS is intended to replace over 200 legacy financial systems, which currently operate independently of each other across the health service.

At a meeting of the HSE’s performance and delivery committee on 22 May, the minutes of which have been seen by MI through Freedom of Information, the HSE’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Mr Stephen Mulvany said: “Covid-19 has necessitated a replanning exercise of the overall IFMS project.”

The original 38-month duration of the phase 1 plan will be exceeded as a result of the impact of Covid-19.

“An estimated eight-to-10 weeks have been lost; however, the detailed re-planning exercise will seek to keep the project as close as possible to the timelines in the original end-to-end plan,” according to the minutes.

The CFO informed the committee that the IFMS project team was requested to support the Covid-19 response by accelerating the deployment of the SAP Ariba ‘guided buying and invoicing module’.

He provided a summary of the scope and benefits of the Ariba project and its governance and project management structure.

“The objective of [the project] is to reduce the administrative burden associated with our current processes and protect the capacity to continue to order and pay for goods and services,” according to the minutes.

The project is under the direction and project management of the IFMS executive advisory committee (EAC), chaired by the CFO and is temporarily reporting into the integrated operational hub (INOH) chaired by the HSE Chief Operations Officer, who is responsible for co-ordinating HSE Covid-19 workstreams.

The estimated total costs of the IFMS will be approximately €120 million over the lifetime of the project.

Once the IFMS is fully deployed, it is estimated it will save the HSE €13 million per annum.

The HSE has previously stated that reforming its financial systems is the “single most important non-clinical priority” of the Executive.

The Future Health Report, published in 2012, identified the financial and service information systems of the health service as not fit for purpose. Consolidated Financial Intelligence (CFI) is an interim platform for national finance reporting across the health service, which went live in August 2017.

The CFI system configuration helps produce consistent data through a common suite of reports built on a single chart of accounts and enterprise structure across the HSE including Corporate, Directorate, Community Healthcare Organisations, Hospital Groups, and HBS Finance.

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