Doctors concerned over decision to drop IDX

Doctors' leaders are concerned that a decision by Fujitsu Services to drop software firm IDX from its implementation of the 6.2bn Connecting for Health could create further delays for hospitals urgently needing new systems.

Doctors' leaders are concerned that a decision by Fujitsu Services to drop software firm IDX from its implementation of the 6.2bn Connecting for Health could create further delays for hospitals urgently needing new systems.

Last week, Fujitsu said it would stop working with IDX, the supplier of its core application platform to trusts in the southern region of the NHS IT modernisation programme.

Peter Hutchinson, Fujitsu's UKmanaging director, public sector, admitted the implementation of systems into hospitals had been delayed. "We have not been able to put IDX in any hospitals. We would have if we could."

Connecting for Health said, "Fujitsu's decision to switch its core application platform to Cerner was made with full consideration of achieving the optimal deployment timetable."

A spokesman said preparatory work for the installation of IDX systems would not be wasted. "Substantial preparation work has been undertaken in a number of trusts. This work is generic in nature and can therefore be revised regardless of the application software being deployed."

But John Powell, chairman of the British Medical Association's health information management committee, said he was concerned about the effects of further delays on hospitals waiting for old systems to be replaced.

"There has been a danger all along of planning blights and in places they hold off replacing old systems because new ones are coming along [from the national programme]. Any further delays make that potential problem worse," he said. "Now there is a lot of work to do to catch up."

Hutchinson said, "We will be able to catch up [with implementation deadlines] in due course, but we cannot do it overnight."

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