The National Programme for IT this morning announced that CSC and Accenture are the winners of two of the three remaining local service provider (LSP) contracts, worth a total of £1,907m.

The award of the final LSP contract, for the South of England, has been put back to January 2004 for unspecified reasons. A National Programme spokesperson told E-Health Insider that he was unable to say whether the contract would come in early or late January.  

CSC has been awarded the LSP contract, worth £973 million for the North West and West Midlands region of the NHS in England. Unsuccessful rival bidders were BT, Fujitsu and IBM.

Accenture has been awarded the LSP contract, worth £934 million for the Eastern region of the NHS in England.  Unsuccessful rival bidders were Cerner, CGEY and PlexusCare – the joint EDS/Logica bid.

Both CSC in the North West and Accenture in the East are offering iSOFT as their main clinical system.  This means that of the four LSP contracts awarded three have gone to consortia offering iSOFT.

According to the NPfIT the two contracts, which to run until 2013, cover the provision of local systems and services to access and use the NHS Care Records Service, provide IT support at a local level, deliver essential infrastructure and connect to existing systems in the NHS.

In a press statement Health Secretary John Reid said of today’s contract awards: "By late 2004, patients will begin to benefit from new NHS Care Records that will initially contain basic patient information and health details but will grow over time.  The NHS Care Records Service (NCRS) will ensure that the right information is available to the right people at the right time." 

Richard Granger, director-general of NHS IT added: "We are very pleased that contracts have been awarded in line with the schedule we committed to in January this year.” 

In reality though Mr Granger is likely to be disappointed that he has failed to hit his highly public commitment to ensure that all contracts would be signed by Christmas – a pledge first reported by E-Health Insider in June 2003 and quoted widely since.


Mr Granger continued: "We have one remaining contract for the Southern region to be awarded.  We aim to award this in January when we believe we will have secured the optimum value for patients, the NHS and tax payers for the systems and services we have specified. 

"Our focus now moves to the challenge of ensuring the timely delivery of high quality services, which we will approach in a similar vein, with attention to clear plans, clear milestones and effective partnership working."

This second wave of contract announcements follows the 8 December awrd of the National Application Service Provider (NASP) contract to BT; which also won the LSP contract for London, again; and the North East LSP contract, which went to Accenture. In total the first wave of contracts were worth £2.7 billion over 10-years.

Commenting on the remaining LSP contract for the South of England the NPfIT said in a release:  “The National Programme is working towards contract award for the Southern cluster in January when, after further negotiation, it believes that it will be able to secure an optimum balance between cost, risk, services and commitment – for patients, the NHS and tax payers – for the provision of the systems and services that the National Programme has specified.”