Christine Connelly, CIO at the Department of Health, is trying to negotiate a memorandum of understanding with CSC, one of the two remaining NPfIT local service providers, the other being BT.
The deal she is seeking to complete contradicts suggestions that the NPfIT is dead. CSC has about £3bn worth of national programme contracts to supply the iSoft “Lorenzo” patient administration system to NHS trusts in the England, outside of London and the south.
If the MoU is signed, CSC will take £500m less under its NPfIT contracts but will be allowed to agree new delivery schedules for Lorenzo after it failed to meet previous ones.
CSC will also be allowed to reduce the functionality of Lorenzo and will not be required to deliver systems to GPs.
Last month Christine Connelly said that CSC had failed to meet dates for installing Lorenzo 1.9 at “early-adopter” NHS sites. One of those key sites was University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust which went live with Lorenzo 1.9 in June 2010.
At that time, the Morecambe Bay announced that it was “celebrating” its go-live of Lorenzo 1.9 which it described as a “state of the art electronic patient record system”.
But Morecambe Bay has continued to struggle with its administration in the wake of the go-live.
At a press conference at the DH headquarters Richmond House Connelly said:
“In terms of the contracts we have with CSC we had agreed and settled dates for the Lorenzo 1.9 early adopters. Those dates have not been met. Under those contracts CSC have to give us a remediation plan and then we expect them to hit that remediation plan. We will use all the remedies available to us under the contract. So we are clear on what the contract says success looks like, and that means essentially the trust signing off and saying that the deployment has been successful.”
She said the early adopter programme for Lorenzo 1.9 comprised NHS Bury, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, and Birmingham Women’s NHS Foundation Trusty.
“CSC has to be successful in those places for us to get past the early adopter release key milestone for 1.9,” said Connelly. She added: “It’s very important that the environment gets stable at Bury and Morecambe Bay before we move into future deployments.”
Signing an MoU with CSC will give the supplier a new chance to deliver Lorenzo, and will help to keep alive the NPfIT.
And, in case negotiations with CSC turn into more intensive legal discussions, an MoU would show an intention on the part of the Department of Health to try and make the local service provider contracts work despite missed milestones.
An MoU may also strengthen the Department of Health’s legal hand should CSC invoke contractual clauses which commit the NHS to place a minimum amount of business with CSC.
“In terms of our contract with CSC and BT we guarantee them a number of trusts will take their systems. That’s part of the contract arrangements we fully intend to honour that,” said Connelly.
The NPfIT is not dead - This blog
Fiddling as NPfIT burns - Smarthealthcare.com