Hard on the heels of the recent NAO report on NHS IT, new delays have emerged after NHS Connecting For Health and IT supplier Computer Science Corporation both confirmed to the E-Health-Insider website that negotiations to reset the local service provider contracts across most of England remain unfinalised.

The regions affected are the North, Midlands, East of England and South of England, where CSC is the provider. The website reports that an agreed deadline of 6 May for the completion of the contract with LSP Computer Sciences Corporation was not met.

Reset contracts
This contract is a ‘reset’ of previous arrangements in light of consolidation in the NHS IT supply market. CSC took over the failed IT supplier iSoft’s contracts for ‘Lorenzo’ software. A memorandum of understanding on the new contract was agreed between CSC and NHS Connecting For Health in early March.

An NHS North West Strategic Health Authority board paper obtained by E-Health-Insider says it has “achieved the inclusion of ‘interoperability’ i.e. exchange of patient data between existing GP systems and Lorenzo as a key strategic change in the contract”.

The reset contract will also agree a new “outline implementation plan for all organisations up to 2016, based on new Lorenzo 4 releases”, and outline a revised schedule for roll-out of maintenance updates to existing iSoft patient administration systems for hospitals.

The board papers reveal that late delivery of PAS maintenace releases by iSoft and CSC are causing problems: “Delays in this area are now impacting on several areas of our detailed delivery plan”. During March, no new systems could be installed in the North-West by CSC.

Delays in software delivery and the contract reset in the North, East and West of England is shown in deployment statistics from the NHS North West show, which show that during March no new systems were deployed in the area by CSC.

E-Health-Insider also points out that there has still been no announcement about the contract reset with Fujitsu over its Cerner Millennium software for the South of England region. This has been in progress since July 2007. In late March 2008, health minister Ben Bradshaw revealed that further development of the Cerner Millennium product were still on hold pending the resolution of deadlocked contract negotiations. Negotiations for that reset process was due to have been completed in January 2008.