Thursday, 12 November 2009

BT and CSC bear the cost of delays to NHS IT deals

(By Tola Sargeant, Thursday 12th Nov. 2009, 17:30) I’m grateful to Leo King at Computerworld (see NHS IT project delays cost BT & CSC) for drawing my attention to yesterday’s written parliamentary answers which reveal that the Local Service Providers (LSPs) implementing the National Programme for IT in the NHS (NPfIT) at a local level – now just BT and CSC - have so far been paid less than a quarter of the £5b their contracts were originally projected to cost.

In London, up to 31 Mar ’09 – five years into a ten year contract - BT had received just £326m out of total projected lifetime costs for its contract of £1.0b. While in total, £784m of an anticipated cost of £3.0b had been paid to LSPs responsible for the North East, East, North West & West Midlands regions (£110m of that went to former LSP Accenture, the rest to CSC). The statement also reveals that Fujitsu, former LSP for the South of England, had received £133m by the end of March from a contract that should have been worth £1.1bn.

There is no great surprise in these figures: the suppliers are supposed to be paid on the delivery of working systems and the LSP part of the programme is running several years late. But it does emphasize just how important it is for the two remaining LSPs to meet the crucial deadlines set by the NHS (see November NHS IT deadline draws near for BT and CSC) and ramp up deployment in 2010. It might also make it more tempting for a cash-strapped government to try to claw back some of the funding by curtailing the programme. Taxpayers will, however, welcome the news that for once they’re not bearing the cost of delays.

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