System C is to cut its workforce by a quarter, with up to 150 jobs set to go.

The axe is being wielded just weeks after private equity firm Symphony Technology Group purchased the clinical software assets of McKesson’s international business, and rebranded the UK business System C.

In a letter to clients, joint System C chief executives Ian Denley and Markus Bolton say: “We are consulting with employees on a proposed reduction in 150 posts, bringing the company back down to some 450 people.”

Bolton told EHI: “We are consulting with staff because we firmly believe such changes are necessary to make the business significantly more productive and efficient.”

The senior management team of the McKesson clinical software business has already been almost entirely replaced.

In the letter to clients, the new leadership team at System C say they need to reduce bureaucracy, streamline development, and have a more direct relationship with clients. They argue that this can be achieved with a significantly reduced workforce.

McKesson won business for System C’s Medway suite of patient administration and clinical software, particularly among trusts looking to move away from its legacy systems, Totalcare and Star, for which a national support deal ended this spring.

However, the new management of System C argues that with the bulge of Medway deployments completed the skills of the experienced deployment staff need to be re-directed to client service and development.

Some 11 trusts have deployed Medway in the past year, but the letter to clients says: “The last Totalcare clients will be moving off the system over the coming weeks.”

The company adds that it will rationalise its product line up, ceasing development of some existing products and sunset older legacy products. 

Explaining the changes, Denley and Bolton say in their letter: “We are refocusing our development efforts on the short and medium term needs of our UK clients so that we can deliver functionality in a more timely fashion and in manageable slices.  We are stopping development work that our UK clients don’t need.”

The letter to clients promises that software development will be over-hauled. “We are proposing to replace the current [local service provider]-like development structure with small fully agile teams. 

“We believe this would have an immediate impact and allow us to start delivering serious new functionality into users within months.”

The letter also promises significant improvements to help desk “we are proposing to put more of our skilled subject matter experts into support so that calls are resolved more effectively.”

Improvements are also promised in product testing and release services and methodologies. New clinical products are promised by the autumn and expected to be live in initial client sites by Christmas.