Press release

IT agreement to save the taxpayer over £1 billion

Savings of over £1 billion will be reinvested into the NHS following the Department of Health's legally binding agreement with CSC, suppliers of the Lorenzo healthcare IT system.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

This agreement will give local hospitals and NHS organisations the power to make their own decisions about which IT systems they use. The money saved will go back into the NHS and would be enough to pay for half a million extra knee and hip operations, and almost 15,000 extra doctors.

As part of the Government’s commitment to dismantle the National Programme for IT, the Department of Health, the local NHS and Cabinet Office have been in negotiations with CSC to ensure the existing Electronic Patient Record system, known as Lorenzo, is fit for purpose and focuses on the NHS’s current needs as well as providing value for money. Under the new agreement, CSC’s exclusive rights to be the only provider of clinical IT systems in the North, Midlands and East of England have been removed.

The Government has been renegotiating its major contracts to not only ensure wasteful spending is eradicated but that major suppliers are offering the best value for money.

Health Minister, Simon Burns said:

“By dismantling the National Programme for IT, this new agreement will save taxpayers over £1 billion which will be reinvested in patient care and front line services. We’ve removed the restrictive, top-down, centralised approach and given the local NHS the power to make their own decisions about which IT systems they use.

“The modern NHS still needs healthcare IT systems to exchange information securely and meet the needs of their patients. By re-shaping this contract, delays will be avoided in delivering much needed IT systems to the NHS, and will ensure the investment made to date is not wasted.

“This agreement marks a step in the right direction and a move to a new way of working which will allow the NHS to secure value for money and tailor its IT systems to meet the needs of its local patients.”

Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude said:
“Since May 2010 we have been building a strong operations centre at the heart of Whitehall to ensure that Government runs more like the best businesses.  As part of this we have been negotiating with our major suppliers, acting as a true ‘single client’, and generating savings of £806 million and £437 million respectively in the first two years of this Parliament alone.  As I emphasised when I met with 20 of our top suppliers just last month, ours is not a Government that will tolerate poor performance - and today’s announcement will leave suppliers in no doubt that we will act to strip out waste from contracts where they offer poor value for the taxpayer.”

This deal represents the Government’s commitment to restoring local control over decision-making and enabling greater choice for NHS organisations - ending the top down approach and centralised control of the past.

Now local NHS organisations will no longer be committed to using Lorenzo, and will have the freedom to decide what IT systems are most suitable for their needs.

CSC will retain responsibility for rolling out their Lorenzo Electronic Patient Record system, currently being used by 10 NHS organisations in the North, Midlands and East of England, to the NHS.

If eligible local NHS organisations wish to use Lorenzo they will be able to access centralised support and funding but will first need to develop a robust business case and demonstrate value for money in order to gain approval to do so.

Notes to editors

  • CSC was contracted by the Department of Health to provide an Electronic Patient Record system to NHS organisations across the North, Midlands and East of England in 2002.
  • Lorenzo is a hospital computer system that helps make paper patient records electronic.
Published 4 September 2012