University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust has asked the government to synchronise the contracts for all Lorenzo sites in the North, Midlands and East.

The trust was the first, general acute trust to take the electronic patient record system under the NPfIT contract that made CSC the local service provider for the NME.

However, the delivery and roll-out of Lorenzo has been hugely delayed, and a new agreement between the Department of Health and the company was signed last autumn to reflect this.  

The interim agreement removed CSC’s exclusive right to provide IT systems to three fifths of the NHS in England; but also provided incentives and central funding for trusts that still wanted to take Lorenzo.

This deal extends well beyond the period of the original NPfIT contract, and Morecambe Bay, which is due to go live with the e-prescribing and maternity modules of the system shortly, wants the dates aligned.

The trust’s IT strategy (pdf, 16MB) says it is also working on a local incentive funding arrangement with CSC for the deployment of the new modules.

Head of health informatics Steve Fairclough told EHI that the trust’s core contract is due to end in July 2016. Trusts that take the system under the new agreement will get five years of support from their go-live date.

The new modules will fall under this five year time frame; so, as things stand, the trust’s support contract for the core system would end before that for the e-prescribing and maternity modules.

“Therefore we have asked [NHS Connecting for Health] to consider an alternative model of synchronising the start time of a five -year contract horizon for all existing user sites to either 2016 or to the first go-live of a fast follower trust, giving a new contract end date of either 2021 or December 2018,” the IT strategy says.

“This request has been made in good faith trying to balance the benefits available to all Lorenzo trusts equally.”

The revised agreement between the DH and CSC was the subject of intense questioning by the Commons’ public accounts committee last week.

It learned that CSC has been paid around £1 billion for Lorenzo and ‘interim’ systems, and that it is due to be paid around £1 billion more.

Half of this money will go on Lorenzo. PAC committee chair Margaret Hodge extracted from DH officials the information that £600m is available to “help” or “support” trusts that want to take the system.

However, its IT strategy suggests that when Morecambe Bay comes to the point of replacing its contract, it will look at all the options available.

“This contract end date is important as it drives the market testing exercise the trust needs to undertake to ensure any future costs associated to a new locally negotiated contact offers value for money,” the document says.

“Worst case scenario with a contract end of 2016 will require a business case this calendar year to support a thorough market testing exercise during 2014-15 and to allow for a subsequent deployment of the chosen solution 2015-16, as required.”

Eight trusts so far have taken the Lorenzo EPR under the new deal. The first trust is due to go live at the end of the year.