iSoft will deliver NHS system to CSC 'in new year'

Troubled NHS software supplier iSoft has posted a 13% drop in revenues to £175.2m and a 50% fall in “normalised operating profits” as it limps towards its acquisition by German firm CompuGroup.

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Troubled NHS software supplier iSoft will deliver its Lorenzo care records system to CSC by early 2008, it has said. This will leave the way clear for CSC to start rolling it out to the NHS National Programme for IT from mid-2008 onwards.

It set out the timetable in posting a 13% drop in revenues to £175.2m and a 50% fall in “normalised operating profits” as it limps towards its acquisition by German firm CompuGroup.

The software supplier is contracted to provide the Lorenzo care records system as the core part of the NHS’s £12.4bn National Programme for IT (NPfIT) in three out of five regions where CSC is the lead contractor.

But the turmoil surrounding the company has increased concern about the delivery of Lorenzo, which is already running more than two years late.

Last month, iSoft announced its shock sale to CompuGroup, abandoning previous moves to sell to Australian firm IBA.

The full-year figures for iSoft figures a pre-tax loss of £22m, mainly as a result of restructuring efforts, but this is down from the dramatic £343.8m loss posted by iSoft last year.

The accounts for the year to 30 April received only a qualified opinion from the software firm’s auditors and the company is still under investigation by the Financial Services Authority following earlier accounting irregularities.

In a statement posted with the accounts, John Weston, iSoft’s chair and chief executive, said: “We are committed to deliver Lorenzo 3.5 to CSC by early 2008 and CSC in turn is due to start rolling it out to the NPfIT from mid 2008 onwards. This is the single most important task we face today and the future of the company relies heavily on it.”

CompuGroup is set to buy iSoft for £160m and will also buy out its debts. But CompuGroup has agreed that CSC will then acquire all iSoft's NPfIT contracts, along with an NHS version of Lorenzo and the existing iSoft NPfIT products i.Patient Manager and i.Integration Engine.

Weston said this would mean CSC gaining 700 staff in the UK and India from iSoft – about a quarter of the software firm’s total staff.

Roll-out of the latest version of Lorenzo was now taking place at sites in Germany and the Netherlands, Weston said.

“During the year the group reached an agreement whereby the iSoft NPfIT software will be installed in seven hospitals in the London and Southern regions,” he added.

The company’s NPfIT work was “building up” with interim delivery of iSoft’s Patient Manager (i.PM) and Clinical Manager (i.CM) into NHS trusts.

“Existing systems are being packaged with core elements of Lorenzo technology, enabling those systems to communicate with the NHS National data spine and the new national network,” Weston said.

NHS trusts’ existing iSoft applications would be “upgraded to Lorenzo functionality from mid-2008 onwards” to provide a phased, low-risk migration of systems, he added.

The CompuGroup takeover is expected to be agreed by iSoft shareholders at a meeting set for 31 August.

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