Trusts in the North West of England have been asked if they want to get off the ‘Lorenzo Bus’ and told they will not have to pay penalties if they do.
A letter seen by E-Health Insider asks trusts if they would “formally withdraw from the [National Programme for IT in the NHS]” and says “a trust’s financial liability will only occur when you have committed to a project and signed a project initiation document.”
The move is understood to be a much wider plan to get as many as 30 NHS trusts to opt out of the iSoft strategic patient record that CSC is due to implement across the North, Midlands and East of England.
In February, EHI revealed that Lorenzo functionality would stop at Release 2 in order to find part of the £600m savings from NPfIT demanded by the Treasury in its Pre-Budget Report at the end of last year. Four releases were originally planned.
However, the letter signed by Mike Farrar, chief executive of NHS North West says a revised scope has now been agreed with CSC.
“The initial CSC position was that all components of Lorenzo Release 4 plus theatres, maternity, and SAP [single assessment process] from Lorenzo Release 3 were out of scope,” Farrar says.
“The revised position now brings theatres, maternity, multi resource scheduling, child health and disconnected mobile working back into scope.”
It also says that a “limited number of organisations [will be able] to take the TPP SystmOne community, hospital and child health solution within total contract value.”
According to sources close to the project, those who opt out of Lorenzo will have to fund the deployment of a different electronic patient record system themselves.
Those who stay on the bus will receive central funding, but data migration or readiness costs are likely to be borne by the trusts themselves.
NHS Connecting for Health was unable to comment on the letter, which is the second sent by the SHA this year. The agency said it is still in negotiations with CSC.
Opinion and analysis: Read more about this story and the state of the national programme in the NME in our ‘bus stopping’ opinion and analysis.