CSC has insisted its work on the £11.7 billion Department of Health National Programme for IT (NPfIT) is going “very well”, two weeks after ministers were advised by a powerful committee to consider scrapping the programme.
The Public Accounts Committee advised health and Cabinet Office ministers to seriously reconsider the programme, and 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.
“We are performing very well on it,” CSC chief executive Mike Laphen told investors in a reference to the programme, as the company reported first-quarter net income up 28 percent to $183 million. “We think we have an outstanding product here.”
But CSC for the first time gave a reserved outlook as to whether it would receive a new Memorandum of Understanding with the NHS on its £3 billion contract, following an ongoing review of the programme within the Cabinet Office. It is meeting government officials next month.
Laphen admitted that “there’s still the political debate as to what to do with the programme”, adding that “finalisation of an MoU remains dependent upon the completion of the UK government’s review process”.
Laphen admitted that CSC was unsure what would happen with its contract, saying: “I appreciate everybody would like to have more visibility into it. Frankly we would like to have a little more visibility into it as well.”
In previous quarterly financial presentations to investors, CSC had instead insisted that it was “on track” to sign an MoU. But since then the Cabinet Office has effectively taken control of the programme, by appointing Katie Davis, an executive director at the its Efficiency and Reform Group, as interim health chief information officer.
Tola Sargeant, director at analyst house TechMarketView, said CSC “isn’t quite as confident of a positive outcome as it was a few months ago - and rightly so”.