3 June 2005 The NHS’s mammoth £6.2 billion IT modernisation project has run into problems, as it was revealed that a supplier had been sacked for missing deadlines.
Fujitsu Services, the prime contractor for the project’s southern region has terminated its agreement with US software maker IDX. Fujitsu will replace IDX’s clinical information system, Carecast, with its larger US rival Cerner’s Millennium product.
Fujitsu has promised the NHS that the switch to Cerner will not exacerbate the delays.
But Tola Sargeant, an analyst at industry watcher Ovum warned that swapping suppliers at this stage is far from trivial: “BT [which manages the national data spine] has clearly had significant problems fitting IDX’s software to the UK system, and we find it hard to believe that Fujitsu and Cerner won’t face many of the same challenges.”
The NHS Connecting for Health (CfH) programme is the biggest civil IT project in the world, covering 8,000 surgeries, 240 hospitals and about 55 million patients. The project was split into five regions, and contracts for each region awarded separately.
Despite the decision to cut IDX from the Southern project, it will still be used in the London region.
It has been widely known that the Southern project was running behind schedule. But the cutting of IDX marks the first instance of the hard line that the NHS had promised to take.
In March, Richard Granger the CfH director general had promised to cut any suppliers incapable of meeting deadlines.