Accenture and CSC win $1 billion NHS contracts

Accenture and CSC have become the latest winners in the NHS IT modernisation program, each securing regional contracts to manage patient records.

Accenture has won the £934 million contract to manage records in the east of England, while CSC has scooped up the £973 million contract to manage records in the north-west and West Midlands region. The decision leaves just one regional contract to be awarded, in the south and south-west.

The contracts form part of an ambitious IT modernisation program that will see everyone in the UK given a single electronic medical record. That record will be accessible from any hospital or doctors’ surgery anywhere in the country.

In the last remaining contract, EDS, in alliance with LogicaCMG, is battling it out against Fujitsu Services and SchlumbergerSema, which is in the process of being acquired by Atos Origin.

The biggest losers, surprisingly, have been IBM and EDS. IBM had been shortlisted for three contracts, but has lost out in every one of them. Likewise EDS, once the biggest supplier of computer services to UK central government, has won just one.

The NHS IT modernisation program has been driven by former Deloitte Consulting partner Richard Granger. His robust, no-nonsense style has annoyed a number of suppliers.

Granger was appointed to provide robust management of the NHS IT modernisation project, to drive a hard bargain from suppliers and to ensure that government ministers do not interfere — a common problem in public sector IT projects.

Granger’s timetable is ambitious, with the rollout of the countrywide patient appointment system scheduled for the summer of 2004 — and big penalties written into contracts for suppliers that fail to deliver on time and to the desired quality.

The rollout of the national database of patient records is also expected before the end of next year.

Pete Swabey

Pete Swabey

Pete was Editor of Information Age and head of technology research for Vitesse Media plc from 2005 to 2013, before moving on to be Senior Editor and then Editorial Director at The Economist Intelligence...

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