SchlumbergerSema set for NHS e-booking contract

The National Programme for IT in the NHS looks set to sign a contract with SchlumbergerSema for the health service’s new...

The National Programme for IT in the NHS looks set to sign a contract with SchlumbergerSema for the health service’s new e-booking programme, after EDS and Fujitsu lost out on the deal.

The National Programme will not make a formal announcement on the identity of the successful bidder until next month, although an industry source confirmed today that Fujitsu had been dropped. Last week the National Programme "deselected" EDS from the three-way competition.

Analyst firm Ovum Holway said that it makes sense for the NHS to narrow the field down to one successful bidder at this stage of the procurement process. Ovum analyst Tola Sargeant said, "I would say that this is a sensible way of doing things - negotiating with one team to get the final contract straight is obviously what they are focusing on now."

Fujitsu has declined to comment, although the company is still in the race to be one of the organisations that will deliver key elements of the Government’s £2.3bn overhaul of NHS IT.

A spokesman for the National Programme said that it is "in the final stages" of the competition for the electronic booking programme. He said, "There continues to be a number of formal processes and approvals to be undertaken and obtained leading up to the contract award."

"A formal announcement about the successful bidder will be made in the next three to four weeks," he added.

The National Programme spokesman said that the value of the contract will not be announced until it is formally awarded.

In related news, Atos Origin announced today that it has signed an agreement to buy the "core IT services activities" of SchlumbergerSema from parent company Schlumberger Ltd in a deal worth around $1.5bn.

However, Richard Holway, chief executive of Ovum Holway, warned that integrating Sema and Atos Origin’s systems will be complex.

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