Seven NHS trusts were represented at a new Lorenzo user group meeting intended to give customers a greater influence in shaping the development of the electronic patient record programme.

CSC was supposed to deliver Lorenzo across the North, Midlands and East of England as part of the National Programme for IT in the NHS, but the system has suffered development and deployment delays.

The company has spent many months locked in negotiations with the Department of Health about a new LSP deal for the region, and a new interim agreement was finally announced in September.

EHealth Insider reported last week that the next ten trusts to take Lorenzo will receive a signing-on bonus of £1m each for implementation expenses, in addition to £4m that will be available for deployment and training costs.

Two of the early adopters of the system – University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust and Birmingham Women’s NHS Foundation Trust – were at the user group meeting, as was Humber NHS Foundation Trust, which took over as the mental health early adopter last year.

CSC said the inaugural meeting marked “a new chapter” in the Lorenzo programme, and solution director Nick Harte said it reflected a change in approach.

“The direct relationship that now exists between CSC and its Lorenzo customers promises a more agile approach and ability to respond directly to users’ needs and a greater focus on priorities.”

Steve Fairclough, head of health informatics at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust said he was refreshed by what he had heard at the meeting.

“It is clear that we are now able to influence the direction of travel, which is vital to ensure we are able to hit NHS targets next month, next year and beyond.”

The interim agreement removed CSC’s exclusive rights to be the only provider of clinical IT systems in the NME, and gave the company no new commitments on how many trusts would take the system.

To make the agreement work, CSC and the DH now need to build a committed pipeline of NHS trusts to take the EPR software.

The user group took the form of concurrent meetings in Leeds and Birmingham, videoconference and webex.