NHS trusts across the capital today received official confirmation that BT is to replace GE Healthcare – previously IDX Systems – for Cerner as its supplier of electronic patient record software in London.

As first reported by E-Health Insider on 13 June, BT will replace IDX, its current clinical software supplier, with Cerner for secondary care. Systems for primary care and community and mental health services will be provided by INPS (formerly In Practice Systems) and CSE Servelec respectively.

The soon-to-be chief executive of the NHS, David Nicholson, currently CEO of the London SHA and the senior responsible officer for the £12.4bn Connecting for Health (CfH) programme in London, has written to all London trusts informing them of the switch.

Nicholson states: “I am writing to let you know that we have now received a formal request from our local service provider, BT, to change their sub-contractor for delivery of the integrated care record for London.”

He says that the vision of an integrated patient record, covering primary, community and acute care, remains “but BT is recommending some significant strategic changes to the component elements on which that vision is to be built.”

Nicholson continues: “In the acute setting, they [BT] are proposing a change of supplier, replacing GE Healthcare (formerly known as IDX) with Cerner. Mental health and community health services will continue to deploy the RiO product from CSE Servelec.” For primary care ‘Vision 4’ from INPS is being proposed.

The NHS England CEO designate added that the proposals from BT will be carefully “scrutinised” over the coming months. He advises trusts that they will be contacted by NHS CfH London “in the next few days to discuss particular issues relating to your trust, and to ensure we achieve maximum involvement in the evaluation process.”

The move means that IDX, which two and a half years ago won contracts to provide clinical software to both the London and the South of England regions, under the NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT), will be removed from the programme entirely.  IDX was bought by GE this January.

The London decision comes over a year after Fujitsu, the prime contractor for the South, replaced IDX with Cerner. In the year since Cerner replaced IDX in the South it has so far installed its Millennium software at one small highly specialised hospital: Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, Oxford.

Recently published figures revealed that BT, which has so far only installed IDX at Queen Mary’s Sidcup, has so far earned just £1.3m from its London LSP contract.  In June BT said that it would install patient administration software at three acute London trusts by year end.

For the three London trusts running IDX patient administration and record systems – Queen Mary’s, Sidcup, Chelsea and Westminster and University College Hospitals London – the announcement appears bad news, as they are now left with systems that are not core to the programme.