NHS patient records project faces axe, says Cameron

Prime Minister chips in on fate of troubled programme...

Prime Minister chips in on fate of troubled programme...

David Cameron has said the government is considering terminating its LSP contract with CSC

David Cameron says the government is considering endng its patient records system contract with CSCPhoto: World Economic Forum

The Prime Minister has said the government is considering scrapping a multibillion-pound project to install a patient records system across the NHS.

Speaking during Prime Minister's Questions this week, David Cameron said the government was considering "terminating some of, or indeed all of" CSC's contract with the Department of Health to install the Lorenzo electronic patient records system.

CSC is due to install the system at health trusts across the Midlands and the north and east of England. However, work on delivering the systems is running years behind schedule.

Cameron was speaking in response to a question by Richard Bacon MP, member of parliamentary spending watchdog the public accounts committee and long-time critic of the project.

Cameron said: "The Department of Health and the Cabinet Office will examine all the available options under the current contract, including the option of terminating some of, or indeed all of, the contract."

The Department of Health has been negotiating the terms of a revised contract for the project with CSC for months, and Cameron said, "We are absolutely determined to achieve better value for money."

The project to install the electronic patient records system is one of a series of IT projects that fall under the National Programme for IT (NPfIT).

Cameron said no revised contract would be signed until a National Audit Office report on the NPfIT - due next week - has been studied, and reviews by the public accounts committee and the Cabinet Office's Major Projects Authority have taken place.

Responding to Cameron's comments, a CSC spokeswoman said: "CSC is in the final stages of negotiating a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the NHS.

"The MOU for the realigned NHS programme is designed to offer the government greater value and flexibility, while achieving desired saving in healthcare," she said. "Completion of the MOU has always been dependent on final NHS and other government reviews."

"No existing CSC UK government contracts are impacted by the NHS reviews and CSC continues to support the NHS and other public sector contracts during these reviews," the spokeswoman said.

Last month, Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, one of four trusts chosen to pilot the system before it is more widely rolled out, decided to abandon the system blaming "delays" in implementing functionality.

The Department of Health has previously stated that it is considering terminating the contract with CSC, after it missed a key milestone for rolling out the system.

The Lorenzo system is being installed by CSC under the terms of its Local Service Provider (LSP) contract, which is worth just over £3bn but the DoH has said it expects negotiations with CSC will reduce the contract's value by about £500m.

CSC is one of only two LSP suppliers to the DoH that are left, after previous suppliers Accenture and Fujitsu pulled out of contracts.