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Fujitsu prepares for court battle over NHS IT programme dispute

Fujitsu prepares for court battle over NHS IT programme dispute

Court date for NPfIT contrct has yet to be set

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Fujitsu is preparing to take the Department of Health (DH) to court over a £700 million dispute related to the NHS’s controversial £12 billion National Programme for IT (NPfIT).

When Fujitsu pulled out of the NPfIT in 2008, citing constant demand to make local changes, it announced plans to recoup £700 million from the government. The amount was the majority of the £896 million fee it would have received for completing the entire project.

Ever since, the IT supplier and DH have been locked in a dispute over the payment, and Fujitsu has confirmed that it is still intending to take DH to court to recover the money.

“We are in formal legal proceedings to recover the losses following the termination of the contract. There are preparations for a court hearing now taking place,” a Fujitsu spokesperson said.

However, the supplier did not specify a timeframe for the court battle, and as ComputerworldUK blogger Tony Collins noted earlier this year:

“It's noticeable that a legal dispute between Fujitsu and the DH has continued for nearly three years without any sign of court action.”

Meanwhile, a spokesperson from DH said: “We can confirm we remain in dispute with Fujitsu and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.”

The government formally announced the scrapping of the NPfIT last week, dubbing it the biggest IT disaster of the last Labour administration.

The move to “urgently dismantle” the health service IT scheme followed a series of damming reports from the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee and more muted criticism from the public sector spending watchdog the National Audit Office.

Last month, CSC, one of the main contractors alongside BT and Fujitsu on the programme, insisted its work was “going very well” just two weeks after the Public Accounts Committee advised health and Cabinet Office ministers to reconsider the programme.

The PAC said it was so disappointed with CSC’s work that it was possible the supplier was no longer fit for any government work. CSC has only delivered its main patient records system to three large trusts in nine years, and representatives have been unable to guarantee it would deliver the systems to all trusts by the current 2015 deadline.

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