A big London trust has signed a 10-year contract worth more than £150 million to outsource its IT services management in a drive to become an “exemplar”.
Global digital consultancy company Atos announced on Thursday morning that it had reached an agreement with University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to become its “digital transformation partner”.
The agreement would make Atos the trust’s primary ICT contractor, responsible for integrating systems and supporting delivery.
It will cover application management, a private data cloud service, information security, data service and integration management.
The final value of the deal has not been disclosed but the original tender, released in April 2016, said it was expected to be worth between £150 million and £400 million. The contract can be extended twice, potentially taking its total length to 12 years.
In the original tender for the contract, the trust said it was looking for a “strategic technology partner” to create a “step change” in how digital services were delivered at the trust.
The supplier needed to “create a digitally enabled organisation that provides staff and patients with access to the right systems, at the right place, at the right time to enable the delivery of efficient and effective patient cares”, the tender said.
The announcement comes after the trust moved closer towards another major digital investment in November, selecting Epic as its preferred supplier for a new electronic patient record.
If the trust proceeds with the Epic EPR, it would be only the second UK trust to pick the American system.
Trust deputy chief executive Neil Griffiths said the Atos contract was an important step in the trust’s digital journey to become an “exemplar organisation”, hinting at ambitions to join 12 digitally advanced “exemplar” trusts selected for extra central funding in September last year.
Digital services director at the trust, David Hill, said Atos had offered a “compelling case to deliver foundational ICT services”.
Philip Chalmers, Atos’ UK and Ireland senior vice president for health and public sector, said: “We are looking forward to helping UCLH in its mission to deliver high-quality patient care. We will work together to transform services so that they meet the demands of patients and staff.”
Atos already has a wide range of contracts with the government in the UK, including within the NHS.
However, some of these contracts have sparked controversies.
In January 2016, the Public Accounts Committee criticised Atos for its handling of a major national GP extraction services contract, claiming the company “did not show an appropriate duty of care to the taxpayer”.
However, a subsequent Cabinet Office review of all high value government contracts Atos disagreed, finding the company was “performing within the normal operational parameters of large technology contracts”.
More broadly, Atos has been recently criticised for its handling of Fit-For-Work assessment contracts with the Department for Work and Pension.
Digital Health Intelligence: holds information on the clinical systems installed at trusts across the UK and uses this to calculate a Clinical Digital Maturity Index score. University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust ranks 43 out of 153, with a score of 81. (requires log-in).