IDX Systems Corporation has today announced that it has agreed with Fujitsu Services to terminate their agreement under which IDX and British Telecom were to provide a ‘common solution’ clinical information system for the south of England under the NHS National Programme for IT.

It is expected that IDX will, subject to contract agreement with Fujitsu, be replaced in the south with Cerner, providing its Millennium clinical system. Connecting for Health stated: "NHS Connecting for Health has agreed, subject to contract, to permit Fujitsu to replace IDX’s Carecast product with Cerner’s Millennium product". 

Despite having awarded the original contract to Fujitsu bidding IDX, Connecting for Health was at pains to stress that under the contract between the Department of Health and Fujitsu, responsibility for the selection of clinical software supplier rests with Fujitsu.

Connecting for Health told EHI that Fujitsu had not had to seek permission for a revised delivery timescale as part of their discussions. In March it was confirmed that delivery in the South was running nine months late.

Fujitsu, the local service provider (LSP) for the South of England, had previously agreed to share a common software solution that IDX was developing with BT, the LSP for London, with this common solution to be implemented across both London and the South of England.

The common solution being developed was to have been based on IDX’s Carecast electronic patient record system. IDX will continue to provide the core clinical records software for the London Cluster.

Connecting for Health said in a statement that Fujitsu "are formally seeking our permission to replace key sub-contractor, IDX Systems Corporation in order to fulfil their obligations for the provision of key services to the NHS".

It added that the arrangements between BT and IDX are unaltered. "Indeed, this change in the south provides the opportunity for BT and IDX to redouble their focus on the delivery of services to the NHS in London".

According to IDX, its new agreement with Fujitsu’s "is conditioned upon Fujitsu and the NHS executing a memorandum of understanding in relation to the development of an alternative solution in the Southern Cluster". As reported by EHI today this alternative is widely expected to be Cerner’s Millennium system.

James Crook, IDX’s Chief Executive Officer, said: "Fujitsu Services’ decision to withdraw from the ‘common solution’ and to align itself with another provider for the southern cluster is disappointing. We believe that, together with our prime contractor BT, we have overcome numerous obstacles in delivering on the national programme, which is unprecedented in scale, complexity and schedule, and will ultimately deliver real benefits to patients, care givers and NHS staff."

Crook added: "In spite of these challenges, we believe that IDX Carecast, one of the first products developed to the rigorous national standards, will be a successful solution for the London cluster."

He said that IDX anticipated the first installation of the Carecast system in the next few weeks and the rollout of Carecast in London this year. "We expect to see a rapid acceleration of deployments to trusts in the next 12 months."

Tim Smart, President Business Operations for BT in the UK said, "We and IDX have important work to do together. Our joint undiminished focus is on the deployment, across London, of world-class systems for our customer. We are addressing that task with confidence and enthusiasm."

A spokesperson for Intellect, the trade association representing UK IT suppliers, commented: "Although this is a blow for IDX, we are positive that the decision will allow them to increase their focus on their relationship with BT and provide a successful delivery of services to the London region."