Public Accounts Committee

NHS Shared Business Services inquiry

Inquiry status: Concluded

Report published 29 November 2017. Government response published 1 March 2018.

Report and response published

Scope of the inquiry

NHS Shared Business Services (SBS) provides back-office services such as finance, HR and procurement to NHS trusts.

It is a limited company owned by the Department of Health and Sopra Steria, a private company. In 2015 NHS SBS generated revenues of £87million from its services to trusts.

In March 2016 SBS informed NHS England and the Department of Health that it had discovered a backlog of 435,000 items of unprocessed correspondence including sensitive clinical correspondence. This backlog had grown from 8,146 items in 2011. As of May 2017, the review of the backlog had found 1,788 cases of potential harm to patients as a result.

A National Audit Office investigation found that managers at SBS had been aware of a clinical risk to patients since January 2014 but did not develop a plan to tackle the backlog. NHS England estimates that handling the incident will cost £6.6million for administration alone.

The Public Committee will ask representatives from the Department of Health, NHS Shared Business Services and NHS England how they are continuing to investigate the issue, how they are assuring against harm to patients resulting from it, and how they can ensure such problems are not allowed to escalate again.


Read all transcripts, written evidence and other material related to the inquiry on NHS Shared Business Services.

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