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Local service provider contracts may be abandoned

28th December 2009

Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley has forecast that it could be possible to abandon the existing local service provider contracts that are part of The National Programme for IT in the NHS.

Writing for E-Health Insider as part of a look ahead to 2010, Mr Lansley said it was time for the government to abandon “flawed” local service provider contracts awarded to CSC and BT to implement electronic patient records across the country.

He said under the current climate he believed that such a move was possible without penalties.

Mr Lansley felt that was an option because the costs of fulfilling the contracts to the companies would “exceed the value of the contracts to them.”

In 2009, the Conservatives have pledged to abolish much of NPfIT’s central architecture in favour of more localised systems and the party believes it should be possible to deliver up to £4 billion, unspent under those contracts, for support for front-line IT and other services in the NHS.

The vision includes hospitals choosing their own software in a way that was tailored to meet local needs, though there remain fears there could be legal disputes over such a move.

However, Mike O’Brien, the minister with responsibility for NHS IT, countered by saying the vision of a connected NHS was essential to its future and that delivery would pick up pace in 2010.

But Liberal Democrat shadow health secretary Norman Lamb asked him for clarity on where the £600m of cuts identified for the programme in the Pre-Budget Report were going to fall.

 

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