NHS Connecting for Health has awarded a £41m-plus contract to provide service desk support for its National Programme for IT (NPfIT) applications to Fujitsu Services.
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The seven-year contract is designed to give the NHS professional, scaleable and consistent first-line support giving access to the necessary technical support for applications such as the NHS Care Records Service, the Choose and Book appointments system, the Electronic Prescriptions Service and the Picture Archiving and Communications Service.
The contract's core services element, valued at £41m, includes providing professional national service desk support, handling all user queries associated with NPfIT systems and services. This element will replace and scale up functions currently provided directly by NHS Connecting for Health. It is anticipated that services will transfer to Fujitsu during autumn 2006.
The deal also includes a contractual framework that the NHS can use to take up optional service desk support for a wider range of IT systems and services. Individual NHS organisations would have to pay for these optional services, but at nationally negotiated prices.
Earlier this month, 23 leading computer science academics wrote to parliament calling for an independent audit of NPfIT, raising concerns about whether a fully integrated national programme was technically feasible.