Accenture, the local service provider for the NHS IT programme in the North-east and East of England, is winding down its implementation team working on putting new patient administration system into NHS hospitals.

E-Health Insider has been told that the acute implementation team was almost completely disbanded at the beginning of July, with a number of redundancies and contractors let go. Some Accenture staff were redeployed to work on primary and community care projects.

A source from the project said: “They called us in at the beginning of July saying they are suspending all implementation activity for 12-18 months.” They added that only acute hospital projects that had progressed passed the project initiation stage were now continuing. They added that some discreet departmental systems would still be delivered.

Accenture were contacted by E-Health Insider but declined to offer any further comment on their implementation approach in the two clusters or future deployment plans for NHS hospital trusts.

Industry speculation, however, is increasingly pointing to CSC being allowed to take over Accenture’s acute hospital work in the two clusters – taking over responsibility for implementing iSoft products in trusts across two additional regions.

Accenture would potentially continue to be responsible for community and primary care work. “The rumour is that they [Accenture] will get out of secondary care and do primary care across all three clusters,” the source said.

In June Accenture’s MD Bill Green indicated that the company was looking at alternatives to iSoft in relation to its NHS contracts, after making provision for losses of £250m due to software delivery delays.

Last Friday iSoft revealed that it was in dispute with Accenture about being in breach of contract, and announced a new deal with CSC which “in certain circumstances” would provide an “opportunity to win additional NPfIT business in future through CSC.”

Whatever the final outcome it is clear that new installations of administration and clinical software at hospitals the North-east and Eastern regions of the NHS IT programme have largely ground to a halt, with the troubled £6.2bn NHS IT project beset by yet more uncertainty and delay.

In June Accenture and NHS Connecting for Health stated in a written response to the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee member Richard Bacon MP that it would install iSoft’s iPM patient administration system at five trusts by the end of October. Only one, Ipswich NHS Trust, now says it is working towards meeting this date.

The remaining four NHS trusts named by Accenture two months ago have now told E-Health Insider over the past week that they no longer plan to take the system or don’t have an implementation date.

As exclusively reported by EHI on 16 August, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has abandoned plans to implement the CFH version of iSoft’s iPM PAS system.

EHI has this week learned that Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust, which was due to go live on 31 July, has not received a new system. The trust told EHI the date had not been met and a spokesperson told EHI there was “no new go-live date planned at the moment”.

The spokesperson added: “I can confirm that we did not go live at the end of July, due to concerns raised by the IT director to the board. These dates are being investigated and a new go-live date is yet to be confirmed.”

Airedale NHS Trust which was due to go live at the end of August also says the date has not been met. A spokesperson said it was “not known when the next go live date will be.”

They added: “We do not know when we can expect to train our staff and implement the system the matter is still being discussed.”

Although Accenture has made limited progress in the acute hospital sector it has made far greater progress in primary care, mental health and community care.