NHS IT: Slow demand for national systems

Initial demand from London NHS trusts for new national systems from the capital's local service provider BT is much less than...

Initial demand from London NHS trusts for new national systems from the capital's local service provider BT is much less than contracted for in the first year and far higher than expected in the second year, according to a leaked paper.

The paper, which sets out BT's plans for a technology-led modernisation of London's health services, revealed that at 31 March the initial demand from trusts for phase one, release one of BT's services was "considerably lower than that anticipated during the bid phase" being 19 "bundles" requested, against 86 anticipated.

The demand for a portal giving access to a care records and electronic booking service was only seven, against 73 specified when the deal was signed.

However, the BT paper disclosed that demand for bundles in the financial year 2005/2006, in which the systems on offer promise much greater functionality than in the initial release, is "considerably above that anticipated in the agreement".

It said, "A total of 141 bundles have been requested versus 50 in the agreement. Clearly this level of demand is undeliverable without a massive, and perhaps unsustainable, spike in activity and resource input by both the authority [the health service] and the contractor [BT]."

A spokesman for the national programme for IT in the NHS said the figures in the BT paper were out of date, but he declined to update them. The national programme is working with BT to balance demand from trusts.

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