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BT takes 40% of CfH spending

CSC gets a pittance

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Connecting for Health spent £470m with BT last year, more than twice as much as went to CSC.

BT's dominance of health service IT has been revealed by government figures showing the firm received more than two-fifths of NHS Connecting for Health's 2009-10 £1.1bn supplier budget.

The data, released by the Department of Health (DoH) to SmartHealthcare.com, shows the UK telecoms and IT services provider was last year by far the largest supplier to CfH, which runs both the National Programme for IT (NPfIT) and legacy services from its predecessor, the NHS Information Authority.

BT is one of the two key suppliers to NPfIT, but the other, US-based CSC, received just £213m in 2009-10. This is despite the two firms each holding contracts to supply NPfIT with services with a total value of around £3bn.

A spokesperson for the DoH told SmartHealthcare.com that CfH pays providers for services on delivery, "not for just hanging around".

"We ensure suppliers are only paid when they have successfully delivered. The delivery of services in 2009-10 by BT are reflected in the payments due in 2009-10," she said.

Last year saw BT win a £546m deal to install Cerner Millennium at three acute hospitals and maintain it at seven more in the south of England, as well as installing CSE's RiO software at 25 mental and community health trusts across the same region, following Fujitsu's exit from NPfIT. MP Richard Bacon has recently asked the National Audit Office to investigate the deal, claiming it should have been worth around £100m.

The DoH data also reveals that despite being sacked from NPfIT in 2008, Fujitsu continues to be CfH's fourth largest supplier, receiving £37.7m in 2009-10. This is due to the "transitional period" from when the contract was cancelled, the DoH said.

"The charges figure reflects services that were provided by Fujitsu under its contracts," the spokesperson added.

In third place is reseller Bytes Technology Group, which did £57.9m of business with the agency.

The department provided data on the 100 largest suppliers to NHS Connecting for Health in 2009-10 following a Freedom of Information request from SmartHealthcare.com.

The response also said that the estimated total cost of NPfIT, including spending by local NHS trusts as well as CfH, had reached £5.829bn by 31 March 2010. This included spending of £1.091bn during 2009-10 and £1.188bn in 2008-09.

This article was originally published at Kable.

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