Lorenzo funding “a mind-boggling waste”, says MP

The chair of the Public Accounts Committee Margaret Hodge has described the availability of funds to help NHS Trust's deploy CSC's Lorenzo care records system as "a mind-boggling waste".

She made her remarks to The Times newspaper, after details emerged of funding available from both CSC and the Department of Health to help Trusts deploy Lorenzo.

Earlier this month eHealth Insider reported that CSC has offered the next ten Trusts that adopt Lorenzo £1 million in cash. eHealth Insider quoted a CSC employee as saying that the company had seen a "huge rush of Trusts enquiring about the incentive fund".

UPDATE: CSC says that there were "factual inaccuracies" with the eHealth Insider story, but cannot specify which details were inaccurate due to a confidentiality agreement with the Department of Health (DoH).

Meanwhile, NHS Trusts in the North, Midlands and East of England – the catchment area of CSC's original contract under NPfIT – that chose Lorenzo will also receive additional funding from the DoH.

The DoH denies that this arrangement gives CSC a competitive advantage over other care records system suppliers. It says that the additional funding would be subject to its approval of each Trust's business case.

The department would not reveal how much funding is available for Trusts adopting Lorenzo, or whether funding would also be available for Trusts adopting other care records systems, again citing a confidentiality agreement.

Margaret Hodge MP told the Times that "if this is true, it's a mind boggling waste".

"I just can't believe the NHS is bribing Trusts to take on an IT system which is known to have problems at a time when they are struggling to reduce their budgets."

In September, the Department of Health completed the renegotiation of its deal with CSC, originally signed under the previous government's National Programme for IT.

The new contract broke CSC's exclusive right to sell Lorenzo to NHS Trusts in its catchment area. It said at the time that the renegotiated deal would save the taxpayer £1 billion.

In March, CSC had to write-down its $1.5 billion investment in the NHS Lorenzo contract.

As of August, 13 NHS Trusts were reported to have adopted Lorenzo. There are 228 Trusts in the catchment area of CSC's original contract.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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