Figures obtain by freedom of information requests show that NHS Trusts are spending £158,000 per day on new PCs and laptops, at an average cost of £650 per device.
The figures, obtained by memory and storage company Crucial, came from 197 of the 235 Trusts in England. Since the beginning of 2013, they have disposed of 237,422 computers - equivalent to around 144 each day - and spent over £260 million on 401,084 new machines (243 per day).
Crucial said that it is possible that some of the computers are being disposed of by accident - they may have been mistakenly identified as having an unfixable problem, for example. Some may also simply be too old to operate properly, in which case upgrading is another way in which the NHS could save money and avoid electronic waste. By doubling the installed memory of PCs, rather than buying 237,000 new ones, Crucial estimates that the NHS could have saved £95 million.
A separate survey by the firm found that, despite the money spent, 42 per cent of healthcare professionals still feel that IT is a hindrance in their jobs. More than a quarter said that they lack technology skills; 20 per cent did not know how to scan for viruses; and 5 per cent admitted to not knowing how to send an email.
Jim Jardine, director of DRAM product marketing at Crucial, said: "The NHS is clearly investing in new hardware...But despite this spend, it's clear that more training or IT support in using these new systems is needed to help give healthcare workers the means of being productive.
"Our study also highlighted the lack of knowledge doing simple tasks like scan for viruses, but with a bit of training, healthcare staff would feel a lot more confident and can make the most of the NHS's IT investment."
Update on 21/7/17: Crucial provided us with updated numbers after identifying an error in its formula that calculated these stats.
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