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Review criticises software for NPfIT

'Red' alert on 13 issues

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Troubles at software supplier iSoft are set to further delay the implementation of components of England's NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT).

An internal review by local service providers Accenture and Computer Services Corporation (CSC) has been highly critical of iSoft's Lorenzo software – which is core for administration and required for the installation of electronic patient records - and the company's forecast for the release date.

Accenture and CSC are responsible for implementing NPfIT in the North East, East, North West and West Midlands of England.

iSoft, which has asked its auditor to investigate accounting irregularities for the 2003-05 financial years, previously announced that it would not meet its original deadline for implementation by the end of this year.

The review said that beyond a basic version of Lorenzo, which has been tailored for GPs, "there is no well defined scope and therefore no believable plan for releases".

"These releases must be viewed as indicative at best and are likely to be highly optimistic," said the review.

The review also labelled 13 out of 39 matters relating to Lorenzo "red", meaning they raised issues requiring immediate work.

Concerns included iSoft's ability to plan and estimate how long the development process would take and confusion over "progress management".

There is also "no evidence for the development, nor testing of, technical procedures that would be required for operation and maintenance of the live system...this is the main risk to the successful delivery of a fit-for-purpose solution," said the review.

A spokesperson for iSoft said an update on the system would be provided on Friday 25 August, along with the group's full year results.

NHS Connecting for Health, the body responsible for NPfIT, expects Lorenzo to be deployed by 60 per cent of Britain's GPs and hospitals. It is believed to be one of the largest IT projects in the world, with Lorenzo alone to be used by about 600,000 clinicians and managers looking after up to 30m patients.

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

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