Loss of key IT suppliers raises fears of more e-record delay

NHS IT programme has parted company with a second LSP.

The summary care record programme is facing more delays, after NHS Connecting for Health (CfH) axed another of its key suppliers.

Fujitsu was to roll out the electronic patient records system in its role as local service provider (LSP) for the south and south west of England, under a 10-year contract worth £895 million. But CfH terminated the deal, after failing to agree changes to the contract.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, IT lead on the GPC, warned that the decision could increase the cost of the embattled NHS IT programme: 'There is a concern that taxpayers' money will be spent on the expenses incurred in changing supplier.'

Dr Nagpaul added that further delays would undermine public confidence in the programme. A recent National Audit Office (NAO) report found that the summary care record is unlikely to be delivered before 2014 - four years late.

Some analysts suggest the delays will also make it harder to meet other targets.

The negotiations between Fujitsu and CfH reportedly broke down because of the company's demands for upfront payments.

An NAO report published last month found that more trusts were withholding payments from Fujitsu than from rival suppliers.

Fujitsu is the second supplier to leave the programme, after Accenture withdrew in 2006. BT is favourite to replace the Japanese group, because it uses the same software.

Fujitsu says it will continue to work to the original contract terms while a replacement supplier is found.

jonn.elledge@haymarket.com

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