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No news on NHS CSC contract, says Department of Health

Kathleen Hall

The Department of Health (DH) has refused to confirm whether software provider CSC has concluded negotiations for its controversial contract for electronic records systems for the now-defunct NHS National Programme for IT.

The Times reported that it has seen a Securities and Exchange Commission filing where CSC claims it expects a two-year extension to its contracts with the DH worth up to £2bn to the supplier.

“With these amendments the, the contract remains profitable and the company would recover its investment,” The Times reported CSC said. “Based upon events to date, the company does not anticipate that the NHS will terminate the contract.”

But a spokesman for the DH said: "Negotiations with CSC continue on its contracts with the NHS. At this stage of the discussions we are not prepared to comment further."

The news follows a government announcement in September to can the £11.4bn National Programme for IT, as it moves to a more localised approach to IT within the NHS.

Of the £7bn so far spent on electronic care records, the government has an outstanding £4.3bn, of which £2.3bn is under contractual commitment.

Former NHS CIO Christine Connelly told Computer Weekly earlier this year that the major problem with the contracts was having to develop a product from scratch.

"Given that the product was not there at the start and then expecting that product to get developed and do everything we wanted to do with it - that was probably over-ambitious," she said.

In October CSC was forced to repay £170m to the NHS, after the DH in April made an advance payment of £200m to the company for 2011 project costs.


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