By Tony Collins
The Times has followed up its three pages of coverage of the NPfIT yesterday with an article in which the chair of the Public Accounts Committee, Labour MP Margaret Hodge, criticises one of the programme’s main suppliers CSC.
Hodge tells The Times she was surprised to learn that CSC was hoping for a revised NHS deal – worth about £2bn – after it failed to deliver fully functional software to any of 166 NHS trusts in England.
CSC has said in a filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission that, based on events to date, it does not does not anticipate that the NHS will terminate its contract.
CSC gave a series of reasons in its SEC filing why the UK Government may retain CSC and its NPfIT contracts, though it conceded that the outcome of its talks with the Department of Health, is uncertain.
CSC also said it has cured or is in the process of curing the alleged events of default. It asserted that failures and breaches of contract on the part of NHS have caused delays and issues; and it said that if the NHS wrongfully terminated the contract on the basis of alleged material breach, CSC could recover substantial damages.
Hodge told The Times:
“Any private sector company that cares so little about the public interest that they are prepared to extract this kind of money from the public purse should not be given the right to work for the Government again.
“If they are going to take such a private sector attitude to it that they don’t give a toss about the public interest they should be treated like a cowboy builder.”
CSC says it has made a significant investment in developing systems for the NHS and has demonstrated a strong and continuing commitment to improving the quality of healthcare in England. It says it has a demonstrable track record of successful and widescale delivery to NHS within the National Programme and beyond.
The Times also reported that Christine Connelly, the Department of Health’s former CIO, was bought a £416 first-class train ticket for a visit to a hospital at Morecambe, and was flown to San Francisco and Seattle at a business-class rate costing £8,278.80.