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Taxpayers to cough more for multi-billion pound failed NHS IT project

CSC will reportedly continue work despite ginormous cockups. DoH!

hands waving dollar bills in the air

A contract extension costing the taxpayer up to £2bn has reportedly been granted to Computer Sciences Corporation, even though the botched NHS IT project the American company had been working on was axed by the health secretary in September.

According to a story in The Times (behind paywall) this morning, CSC has cheerily told Wall Street that it would continue to provide electronic patient records to the NHS until 2017.

A Department of Health spokesman told The Register:

"Negotiations with CSC continue on their contracts with the NHS. At this stage of the discussions we are not prepared to comment further."

The supplier, alongside national telco BT, failed to fully implement the electronic health care record systems technology first agreed with the DoH in 2002.

In August, a damning Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report urged Andrew Lansley's department to scrap the £7bn implementation of that system, which formed part of the £11.4bn National Programme for IT.

Come September the health secretary did exactly that.

However, that decision wasn't exactly welcomed by observers who watched the shambolic – and eventually failed – implementation of the system unravel.

That's because, as noted by the PAC, the government was faced with trying to wrangle its way out of contracts it had committed billions of pound of taxpayer money to.

Indeed, as we reported in August, the DoH has been negotiating with CSC for over a year and recently admitted that ending the contract with the company could be more expensive than allowing it to complete the project. Ouch. ®

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