Computer Sciences Corporation, the local service provider for the North-west and West Midlands is to take over responsibility for the seven ‘out of cluster’ NHS trusts, who had installed iSoft systems ahead of the NHS IT programme.

The deal for the seven trusts in London and the South of England potentially sets the precedent for further ‘out of cluster’ deals, in which an LSP takes over responsibility for delivering systems to NHS trusts outside its cluster. The announcement marks a significant change in the original scope of the LSP contracts which were geographically bounded.

The announcement forms part of a new memorandum of understanding between iSoft with Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) announced this morning, for a new schedule to deliver products and services to CSC in the North-west and West Midlands cluster of the NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT).

The agreement, said to be valued up to a maximum of £153m, is conditional on milestones being met, and is focused on the future development and successful deployment of products for the NPfIT. Details of the new delivery schedule were not released.

Under the agreement “iSoft has made a number of commitments in respect to future development of its products for the NPfIT and the costs it will bear for that work”.

As part of the agreement with iSoft says that “in certain circumstances” it will have the “opportunity to win additional NPfIT business in future through CSC”. Though no details are provided this is thought to refer to new acute implementations outside the NWWM cluster.

The agreement provides CSC with the option to take direct control of iSoft’s software development. CSC will now have the right to take over the management of the development team “in the event that iSoft is unable to fulfil its obligations”. Rights to IPR would remain with iSOft.

In addition the agreement covers CSC taking over responsibility for delivering future upgrades of iSoft patient administration and clinical software to the seven hospitals in the Southern and London clusters that already had iSoft systems installed before the start of the NHS IT programme. These had previously been direct iSoft customers.

The contract covering the seven hospital trusts will last to 2008, with options to extend until 2011 and covers: Epsom and St Helier University Hospital’s NHS Trust, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation trust, King’s College Hospital NHS Trust, Lewisham Hospital NHS Trust, Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust and Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust.

John Weston, chairman of iSoft said: “We are pleased that CSC and these Trusts, whom we have been working alongside for a number of years, have demonstrated their continuing confidence in the iSoft solution.”

CSC’s UK chief executive added: “We are delighted to build on our experience of deploying and supporting iSoft systems through this agreement.”