NEHTA cuts contractor spend

The National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) has dropped the amount it is shelling out for contractors while stepping up its in-house employee spend, according to its annual report released yesterday.

The National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) has dropped the amount it is shelling out for contractors while stepping up its in-house employee spend, according to its annual report released yesterday.

The authority, charged with steering Australia towards electronic health records, spent just over $9 million on contractors for the year to 30 June 2009 compared to over $11 million last year. Meanwhile, it increased the amount it spent on in-house wages to around $21 million from $16 million.

This brought the percentage of employee spend due to contractors down to 30 per cent from around 41 per cent in the previous year.

"The majority of fixed-term employment contracts expired on 30 June 2009. After NEHTA received funding to continue the work program until June 2012, an assessment process was undertaken to determine the resources needed for each program area and a new contractual process commenced," the authority's annual report said.

The number of full-time employees which NEHTA employed at 30 June was 190, up from 169 the previous year. According to its site, the authority is currently looking for people to fill positions ranging from software development, testing and conformance, enterprise architects and analysts.

Although the authority saved on contractors, it spent big on consultants. It's splashed out just over $26 million on the advisory services, up from just over $2 million the year before.

This accounted for a large proportion of the authority's allocated $64.7 million income for the year. The authority overspent by just over $2.2 million.

NEHTA has been tackling a wide swathe of issues on which it might wish to consult, including privacy implications of health identifiers, addressing concerns of stakeholders with the standards it has developed and the implementation of its newly developed strategy.