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NHS trust dumps CSC over ‘lack of confidence’

Pennine Care trust frustrated at continued delays

CSC is facing fresh trouble in its £3 billion contract on the National Programme for IT, after the Pennine Care NHS trust said it was abandoning the supplier over a "lack of confidence" in its ability to deliver a system quickly.

An internal email from CSC, seen by E-Health Insider, said the trust was not confident in the supplier, as it passed repeated deadlines to deliver the system. The original go-live date was 15 months ago.

The troubled £12.7 billion NHS IT programme was officially reduced in scope last year by the new government, however in practice the programme remains because the government has the contract with CSC and an equivalent £1 billion deal with BT, both of which are understood to contain tough penalty clauses.

Two large suppliers have already quit the programme, including Accenture and Fujitsu, the latter of which is reportedly in a protracted dispute with the government.

The Department of Health is now attempting to find another trust to take the iSoft Lorenzo patient administration being implemented by CSC. Three weeks ago CSC acquired iSoft, and Douglas Hayward, research director at analyst house IDC, said the move was partly because "CSC has to demonstrate its commitment" to the programme. He added: "If this doesn't work, nothing will."

In February, CSC was issued with a breach of contract notice by the Department of Health, following repeated deadline misses, but contract negotiations are still taking place. Richard Bacon, a member of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, has written to the prime minister encouraging him to make sure the Cabinet Office takes part in the negotiations.

In a joint statement, the Department of Health and Pennine Care said: "The delays of the mental health functionality within Lorenzo are very regrettable and the recent decision by Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust to withdraw from the Lorenzo Early Adopter Programme was taken after long and careful consideration by the trust. It will now consider other options available in the wider market."

CSC said it was "disappointed" in the Pennine Care decision, adding: "We remain in ongoing discussions with the Department [of Health] regarding Lorenzo and how completion of this phase of Lorenzo's mental health functionality can be achieved, including the identification of a suitable alternative trust."

For more on NHS IT, read the Tony Collins Blog

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