Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust will have “done and dusted” its contract with the now-defunct systems integrator 2e2 by next Monday, the trust’s IT director says.
Ten of 2e2’s UK companies went into administration late last month and more than 600 of its 2000 staff have since been made redundant.
2e2 has several NHS customers including Sussex Partnership, which signed a contract worth £36.8m over seven years to outsource its ICT services to the company last year.
The trust’s IT director Karl Goatley said the trust was only part-way through its transition to 2e2 so it was “relatively simple” to invoke contingency plans.
“The service was previously provided by a shared service so we were in the process of transitioning between the two, but we do have a strong internal IT team and it’s been strengthened over the past few months so it puts us in a good position to move on from here,” he explained.
To cover the cost of keeping 2e2’s data centres running from 6 February to 15 February, joint administrators asked the company’s 20 biggest customers to pay £40,000 each.
Goatley said Sussex had paid the money, but the 2e2 contract was now “null and void”.
“I can’t see how anyone is going to refuse to do that, but I’m quite confident that we will be done and dusted by the end of this week,” he said.
“Our main focus right now is to make sure there’s no significant disruption to business as usual.”
He said Sussex Partnership’s service had not been affected by the administration of 2e2.
“You don’t get into such a huge contract without making sure you have got a good exit plan and we have that and it’s fortuitous that we were only partly transitioned to 2e2 so it’s been a lot easier to exit than for other big customers.”
As part of the seven-year deal, helpdesk and desktop support services had already been moved to 2e2.
Other services due to be deployed included email archiving, network improvements, a new Intranet and wireless infrastructure.
Goatley said Sussex Partnership would use this as a good time to re-evaluate its IT support services. It was likely to spread its risk over a multiple suppliers and beef-up its internal IT team in response to the administration of 2e2.
“Lots of customers are probably thinking, ‘are there any lessons for the future?’ and probably thinking of spreading the risk through adoption of more suppliers,” he said.
The trust last year embraced an IT transformation programme called Technology in Action. Goatley said future service arrangements would continue to underpin the plan’s objectives.
While outputs would remain the same, how those were achieved could change.
“I’m absolutely confident that we will continue to deliver this within the same financial footprint and perhaps exceed expectations in terms of quality,” he said.
Sussex Partnership plans to go out to tender for a clinical information system this year.
Goatley said it was too early in the transition to comment on whether 2e2 had provided a good service prior to its administration.
The company’s demise, “pretty much took everyone by surprise.”
“As any customer would do, we monitor their finances for some period of time but no one could really foresee this happening over such a short amount of time,” he explained.
* O2 has bought the managed services business 2e2 provided as part of its joint venture with the company, O2 Unify, saving 107 jobs.