Update: BT and CSC ‘committed’ to NHS IT scheme as government issues ultimatum

BT and CSC have insisted they are “committed” to their contracts on the NHS National Programme for IT, despite this morning being issued with an ultimatum to deliver a working system in seven months.

BT, which has been told it faces losing its deal if it does not make the Cerner Millennium patient records system work in an acute trust by November, told Computerworld UK: “BT is a committed supplier to the NHS and the National Programme and we are confident we can deliver.”

As the NHS moves to an increasingly localised model of delivery, an option originally shunned by the government, BT said it was ready to consider “how we might offer acute trusts a more flexible and tailored approach”. Fujitsu, a former supplier to the programme that quit last year, blamed heavy local demands for pushing it out of the frame.

But while BT is keen to express its commitment, it is facing multimillion pound losses on the programme, reports state.

Delayed rollouts combined with tight payment-on-delivery terms mean it is understood to have received only a fraction of what it has spent on the programme so far.

As BT carries out a review of its NHS work, the government faces a dilemma, having already lost two prime contractors to the NPfIT, it cannot afford to lose it another supplier and be left with only CSC on the programme.

CSC, which is implementing the iSoft Lorenzo patient records system and has been set the same deadline, today also expressed its commitment to the scheme. A spokesperson said: "CSC is confident of delivery and remains fully committed to the NHS and the national programme."

Both BT and CSC this month signed new confidential deals with the NHS, but BT’s deal is said to be little more than a memorandum of understanding, the e-Health Insider website has reported.

This morning, both NHS suppliers, BT and CSC, were given until November to prove they can implement electronic health records.

The suppliers have been told if they do not succeed with the deadline, they could risk having their contracts terminated. The same seven-month deadline has been set for Cerner and iSoft, the software suppliers.

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