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NHS England spends £1.2m on iPhones and iPads

NHS England’s spending on iPads and iPhones for staff since its formation has skyrocketed to more than £1.2 million, according to new figures released by the Department of Health.

The response to a written question from Andrew Gwynne, Labour MP for Denton and Reddish show NHS England has spent £1.21m on Apple products since it was set up in shadow form in 2012 – with £1.05m of this on iPhones.

The new figures reveal that the £1.05m spent on iPhones has yielded just 2,300 handsets – a cost per unit of £456 – and in the current financial year it has spent £68,400 on 150 iPhones and £23,000 on 50iPads.

The figures also reveal that the CQC has purchased more than 201 iPads since 2011-2012 at a cost of £113,506, spending £32,571 already this year on 73 iPads.

NHS England previously told Pulse that smartphones were ‘vital’ for staff to work effectively on the move, and that iPhones in particular met the encryption standards required by the NHS.

A spokesperson added: ‘As a new organisation, we had no existing IT and our newly-recruited staff had to be equipped to do their job.’

Deputy chair of the GPC’s IT subcommittee Dr Grant Ingrams told Pulse that the unit price was startling considering the size of the orders being made.

He said: ‘I couldn’t find anywhere, even going to your most expensive [department store] you’d find a better price, and for the volume, they should be negotiating a huge discount for that.’

‘Unless they’re buying an added extra with it. Is it coming with training or additional software loaded, security software or something like tha? Then you could argue the toss that it would be a good thing.’

‘It’s that old conspiracy or cock-up, has someone really not checked the price in their local Currys?’

Dr Ingrams added that it was important staff had the equipment to work on the move, but explained that other phones were also simple to set up with NHS Mail, and equally met its security standards.

He said: ‘[iPhones] are dead easy to set up for NHS Mail, although most smartphones are. Some are easier, iPhones and the Windows based phones you just point it towards the account and it sets it up and automatically enforces the security [standards].’

NHS England was approached for comment but ahad not responded at time of publication.