Seven hundred staff working on the NHS Southern Programme for IT face possible redundancy, following the termination of Fujitsu’s £1.1bn contract by Connecting for Health two weeks ago.

The former local service provider is to hold discussions with the 1000 members of staff working on the NHS IT contract this week, telling them their options now the work has been suspended.

In a statement to E-Health Insider, Fujitsu said: “Fujitsu Services can confirm that it will commence a 90-day consultation period for its employees working on the NHS Connecting for Health National Programme for IT (NPfIT). This process allows the employees to discuss, on a formal basis, the options available to them.”

Trade union Unite, which represents most of Fujitsu’s UK staff, called on the government to safeguard the jobs and skills of the affected staff.

Unite’s national officer, Peter Skyte, said: “The government must make a quick decision to end the present uncertainty and insecurity for the highly skilled IT people working on the NHS contract for Fujitsu.

“The government must act to ensure that the knowledge and skills gained in working for Fujitsu are retained, whoever the provider or providers are in the future, and ensure that the skilled staff can help the project continue to a successful conclusion in the interests of patients, the NHS and the health of the nation"

A DH spokesperson said: "The Department terminated the NHS IT contract with Fujitsu, following failures to deliver the contracted services.

Fujitsu have advised us that they have had around 800 people working on the programme to date, so we would not expect the number who may be affected by this termination within Fujitsu to be greater. We are examining with Fujitsu their desire to deliver the Picture Archiving aspect of the Programme, which could further reduce the number of staff potentially affected.

We have indicated to Fujitsu that where any service transfers to another supplier, we expect TUPE to apply and staff associated with that work would transfer to that other supplier. 

Furthermore we have already agreed to bring together Fujitsu and other suppliers working on delivery of the National Programme for IT to assist in reducing the impact of the termination on skilled IT staff."