Consulting, technology services and outsourcing specialists, Accenture, were widely tipped to win the local service provider contract for the North-east, Yorkshire and Humber region – and were duly appointed to take on the work today.

Commenting on the £1.099 billion, 10 year contract award, Ian Watmore, UK managing director, said: “We are very proud to have been selected to help the NHS.  We look forward to working with the local healthcare professionals to help them provide the best possible service to people of the North-east.”

Director-general of NHS IT, Richard Granger, outlined the qualities that had swung the bid in Accenture’s favour.  “They have the right blend of world-class experience from working in public healthcare systems in Australia and Spain, deep technology expertise and a proven track record of innovation.”

Accenture said that, under the agreement with the Department of Health, it will lead a team that includes BT, Microsoft and iSOFT and a number of other technology companies.  The team will design, build and manage key information systems to support patient care and services in local communities.

Ken Lacey, European managing partner of Accenture’s health and life sciences practice, said: “Bringing the right information into the hands of the right individuals at the right time is the linchpin for making critical healthcare decisions that improve patient care."

The scale of task is great.  The region, stretching from Northumberland down to North and North-east Lincolnshire, has a population of 7.5 million, 42 hospitals, five ambulance trusts and 170,000 NHS staff including 3,700 GPs in 1,300 practices.