BT faces large writedowns as a result of its work on the programme, and may even have considered quitting, it has been reported. Its original deal was worth nearly £1 billion, and CSC’s work – including that formerly done by Accenture – is worth almost £3 billion.
Two weeks ago, Martin Bellamy, head of CfH, said the NHS would routinely deploy the iSoft Lorenzo and Cerner Millennium patient record systems within 12 months. The government has since said it would rather deliver delayed working systems than rush through unfinished technology.
Nevertheless, in the renegotiations, extra local functionality had been scaled back and become more expensive, schedules changed, and the requirement for a single shared system sacrificed “in a final attempt to achieve delivery” ahead of a general election in 2010, E-health insider reported. The Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties have continually questioned expenditure on the programme, indicating it could be a point of contention in the next election.
BT and CSC confirmed they had taken part in discussions, but declined to give details.
A spokesperson at the Department of Health told Computerworld UK that the conclusion of contract discussions demonstrated BT and CSC’s “continuing commitment to the National Programme for IT”.
“We are confident that the Lorenzo and Millennium systems can be deployed successfully and will bring significant benefits for NHS patients,” the spokesperson said. “The NHS is delivering something which no other comparable size health system in the world has managed.”
Earlier this month, it emerged that the NHS has underspent on the programme for the fifth year running, after late delivery by suppliers.