Sale of NHS IT supplier iSoft finally gets thumbs up

Troubled NHS supplier iSoft will finally be sold to Australian software firm IBA at the end of the month, after a vote by shareholders.

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Troubled NHS supplier iSoft will finally be sold to Australian software firm IBA at the end of the month, after a vote by shareholders.

Delivery of iSoft’s Lorenzo care records system is a crucial part of the NHS’s £12.4bn National Programme for IT (NPfIT) in three out of five regions where IT services firm is the lead contractor.

But the crisis-hit firm has been seeking a buyer since last year, when it reported a string of losses and was hit by a Financial Services Authority investigation into accounting irregularities.

CSC had initially blocked the £140m sale of iSoft to IBA, because it felt this would not support delivery of Lorenzo, which is already running more than two years late.

But after iSoft threatened legal action against CSC – and NHS Connecting for Health, which runs NPfIT, intervened to bring the two sides together – CSC and its subcontractor hammered out new contractual arrangements aimed at ensuring the delivery of the care records system.

The deal included consent for the software firm’s sale to go ahead, while CSC and iSoft agreed to integrate their teams working on Lorenzo, under CSC’s leadership.

The software firm’s shareholders have now agreed the offer from IBA UK, a wholly owned subsidiary of IBA.

IBA is set to take over the employment of iSoft staff and will gain intellectual property rights to Lorenzo when the sale is completed, expected to be by the end of the month.

Richard Granger, director general of NHS Connecting for Health, which runs NPfIT, promised MPs last month that the roll-out of Lorenzo would begin next year.

A day later, he announced he would quit as the NHS’s IT chief at the end of this year, before his pledge is put to the test.

The combative NHS IT chief launched a blistering defence of NPfIT and his handling of contractors in an interview with ComputerworldUK’s sister publication CIO this week.

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