NHS England has extended its contract with Palantir for the national data platform introduced during the Covid-19 pandemic to track vaccines and PPE.

In a contract award notice, NHS England said the contract would be extended to 11 June 2023 in a deal worth £11.5 million.

The January 3 contract award notice said: “NHS England is committed to procuring the future provision and requires adequate time to do so.”

“A change of contractor at this stage would cause significant inconvenience and have substantial duplication of cost implications, as to compliantly replace the contractor now would require two concurrent procurement processes to be run for the same service. It would therefore be both impractical and uneconomic,” the notice also said.

It goes on to state: “The new NHS Federated Data Platform is a large and complex project which we expect will deliver a transformed service when compared to the current service.”

NHS England has been conducting a £360 million procurement of a separate, but linked, Federated Data Platform (FDP), which Palantir as the incumbent supplier through its Foundry platform has been widely tipped to win.

Data privacy and competition concerns mean the FDP procurement has already been twice-delayed.  FDP has been touted as a future operating-system for the NHS. FDP procurement documentation speculated such a system could potentially save the NHS £3.6 billion.

The procurement has already been subject to the threat of a judicial review.

In December 2020 NHS England awarded Palantir a £23 million two-year contract extension. The new contract for £11.5m appears to double the price for the six-month period covered.

All details of the breakdown of costs between Foundry usage, software licenses and engineering services were redacted.

Palantir initially offered its services for ‘free’ to NHS policymakers during the pandemic, providing data analytics to help plan and respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, in areas such as PPE and vaccines.

Palantir then won a £1m contract extension, later followed by a £23m, two-year deal in December 2020.

The £360m FDP procurement has already ballooned from an initial estimated value of £240m. Some estimates suggest the deal may eventually be worth £1 billion over ten years.