NPfIT Lorenzo - is the cost per user frightening?

MP Richard Bacon, a member of the Public Accounts Committee, is, any day now, expecting answers to his Parliamentary questions on the number of Lorenzo users at five “early” adopter trusts.

He asked for the number of users at these trusts: Five Boroughs Partnership, Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay, Hereford Hospitals and South Birmingham.

The cost per user may be high, Bacon warned the House of Commons during a debate on the work of the Public Accounts Committee last week.

Lorenzo is supplied by services company CSC in England [north of Oxford], and by iSoft directly in the south. 

Bacon told MPs:

“I tabled a question yesterday about the number of hospital trustswhere Lorenzo has been partially deployed, asking how many users – howmany concurrent users – of Lorenzo there are.

“I look forward to the answer, but the Exchequer Secretary will notneed to consult the written answer that has not yet been written toknow that the answer is not very many. It is literally just a handful,which means that the cost per user is not what one would expect.

“Deploying a software system in an acute hospital with 3,000 to 4,000workers, one might expect that the cost per user would be a few hundredpounds per user per year”. But the cost could be hundreds of thousands ofpounds per user said Bacon. [He may not be wrong when a small portion of the central costsassociated with the Care Records Service are taken into account].

He continued: “How is that consistent with …the Treasury saying thatit does not accept that the programme fails to provide value formoney?”

He said it is not just that Lorenzo that is not working. “The othersystem produced by the other main company involved – the CernerMillennium system – has also caused absolute havoc where it has beendeployed”.

Bacon’s questions on Lorenzo users:

“To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what his latest estimateis of the number of users of the Lorenzo software system at (a) FiveBoroughs Partnership NHS Trust, (b) Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHSFoundation Trust, (c) University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust,(d) Hereford Hospitals Trust and (e) South Birmingham Primary CareTrust.

“Mr Richard Bacon: To ask the Secretary of State forHealth, what his latest estimate is of the highest number of liveconcurrent users of the Lorenzo software system across English NHStrusts (a) at any one time and (b) on any one day.


NHS Connecting for Health (a name which is slowly going out of fashion] and the Department of Health are right to go slowly and carefully with Lorenzo.

But slow and cautious is one thing. Implementing the system with a tiny number of users just to show ministers that the NPfIT is working is the sort of thing politicians enjoy – more misshapen statistics – and a waste of time and money for the NHS which has more important things to do and, arguably, better IT to spend its money on.


NPfIT executives will stand by Lorenzo – IT Projects Blog

Three more early-adopters for Lorenzo – E-Health Insider

“Alert” over NPfIT Lorenzo – IT Projects blog

House of Commons debate on the work of the Public Accounts Committee – Commons

iSoft and Lorenzo – the good news keeps on coming? – IT Projects Blog

BT, FOSS and the national programme – Fox on software

iSoft forecasts 10% growth – TechMarketView