BT may takeover southern NHS IT

BT Health is in talks to take on part of the NHS IT contract which Fujitsu Services walked away from last month, the firm confirmed today.

Yesterday, Gordon Hextall, the head of NHS Connecting for Health (CfH) the body rolling out the 12 billion National Programme for IT told MPs at the House of Commons that his group was in talks with BT to takeover eight trusts which have already rolled out the Cerner software as part of the IT upgrade.

"Its no secret we are talking to BT about them taking responsibility for these sites," Hextall told MPs, according to reports from E-Health Insider. But he added that due diligence meant it would take at least a month to finalise any deal.

If BT Health does take over the eight trusts which have finished implementation, as well as a ninth which is soon to finish, that still leaves the rest of the trusts in the south of England without a supplier for the software.

BT spokesperson Mike Bartlett told IT PRO that his firm was indeed in talks with CfH over the eight sites, but that any arrangement would have to be in BT's best interests. "We are fully committed to NPfIT in the NHS and would like to take on more work subject to the right commercial terms," he said.

The right terms are key, as two suppliers from the original four have already dropped out, leaving just BT and CSC. Fujitsu walked away from negotiations with CfH last month, leading to the 895 million contract being terminated. In 2006, Accenture dropped out, saying it was too difficult to make money off the massive project.