CSC's talks over £3bn NPfIT contract re-set nearing end

Negotiations between NHS Connecting for Health and CSC over revisions to £3bn worth of contracts under the NHS’s National Programme for IT [NPfIT] are expected to be concluded in the next two weeks, we have learned.

The talks over a contract “re-set” had been expected to be concluded by May this year. Talks over a contract re-set with Fujitsu, as the NPfIT supplier of Cerner Millennium systems in the south of England, broke down in May 2008 with the result that NHS Connecting for Health terminated the supplier’s contract.

In 2007 BT, the local service provider for London, received an extra £55m as a result of its contract re-set talks. But officials say this was because trusts added to the requirements in BT’s original contracts. CSC’s talks have been mainly around changing the schedules of its deliveries which should not significantly increase the cost of CSC’s contracts.

CSC has three contracts under the NPfIT, each worth about £1bn. It is the NPfIT “local service provider” for the North, Midlands and East of England Programme for IT , having taken over from Accenture which transferred its two local service provider contracts to CSC in January 2007.

CSC is due to deliver strategic and “interim” systems to NHS trusts that serve a population of about 30 million people.

The supplier’s Lorenzo Release 1 is due to go live at Morecambe Bay acute trust in the next few weeks, the acceptance of which should trigger a large payment to CSC, in anticipation of its roll-out to other trusts. CSC also supplies SystmOne to community health and GPs, and “interim” systems.

Ben Bradshaw, the minister responsible for now for the NPfIT, has told the House of Commons that Release 2 of Lorenzo will be ready for deployment this Autumn.

Release 2 of the Lorenzo Patient Management System is needed by doctors because it contains mainly clinical rather than administrative functionality. But Release 2 is not on the agenda of Whitehall’s officials for deployment this year.