By Tony Collins
The Department of Health has suggested in a memo to MPs that Fujitsu, after having its NPfIT contract terminated, sought to improve its financial position by doubling service charges and threatening to turn off systems if it was not paid.
Fujitsu has denied the accusations, describing them as “wholly untrue”. It says that “as a trusted supplier of services to many Government departments Fujitsu would never countenance adopting such a position”.
The Department of Health’s claim was in the context of its legal action with Fujitsu after the supplier’s NPfIT contract was terminated in 2008.
In a memo published today in a report of the Public Accounts Committee on the NPfIT detailed care records systems, the DH responds to a question by MP Richard Bacon on what the maximum costs would be if contracts with the two remaining local service providers CSC and BT were to be cancelled.
The DH sets out some of the possible costs including those associated with providing ongoing services after the contract is terminated. Says the DH memo:
“It is likely that suppliers will seek to increase these ongoing costs in an attempt to improve their financial position (Fujitsu, for example, doubled the service charges claiming they would turn the systems off unless we paid).”
But the DH provides no evidence of its claim, and the Committee in its report today casts doubt on the credibility of some DH statements related to the NPfIT.
In a statement Fujitsu said:
“If the suggestion is that that Fujitsu threatened to turn off its systems unless the Department of Health agreed to a doubling of charges that is wholly untrue. As a trusted supplier of services to many Government departments Fujitsu would never countenance adopting such a position.
“After Fujitsu’s contract terminated Fujitsu continued to provide significant services ( Care Records and PACS / RIS) to a large number of Trusts whilst a replacement temporary contract was negotiated.
“The temporary contract was required to cover the period up to transfer of the services to alternative suppliers. Fujitsu supported this activity for six weeks after termination at its own risk, without a contract and any security of payment.
“Had Fujitsu not done so this the risks to the NHS would have been significant. Far from taking advantage, Fujitsu acted very responsibly and properly in safeguarding the ongoing provision of services to end users.
“Fujitsu’s charges for continuing to provide services were based upon the charging principles set out in it original contract. This was confirmed by the Department’s own audit.”