CSC, Accenture win regional pacts for NHS system

FRAMINGHAM (12/30/2003) - Two of the final three contracts for the United Kingdom's National Health Service (NHS) Care Records Service were awarded last week as part of the unprecedented initiative to create and maintain electronic medical records for all the country's citizens and clinicians.

Computer Services Corp. (CSC) was awarded a contract for £973 million (US$1.7 billion) for the northwest and west midlands regions. And Accenture Ltd. was awarded £934 million ($1.6 billion) for work in the eastern region.

The first NHS contracts were awarded earlier this month to BT Group to build the infrastructure for the Care Records Service and wire London providers to tap into the new service, and to Accenture to wire providers in the northeast region of the U.K. The contracts will run until 2013.

In this latest round, CSC was chosen over Fujitsu Ltd., BT, and IBM Corp. "This is a hugely complex, but exciting, challenge -- one in which we are excited to have been selected," said Van B. Honeycutt, CSC chairman and chief executive, in an official statement.

For its part, Accenture beat out Cerner, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, and EDS/LogicaCMG. "This win will deepen our relationship with NHS and expand our commitment to helping them provide the best possible service to people in local communities," said Ian Watmore, U.K. managing director of Accenture, in a press release.

"We are very pleased that contracts have been awarded in line with the schedule we committed to in January this year," said Richard Granger, the director general for IT at the NHS, in a formal statement. "This is due to the caliber and commitment of the National Program team and the efforts and cooperation of all bidders enabling us to achieve best value for patients, the NHS, and taxpayers."

The objective of the care record project is to give the U.K. the most sophisticated medical information system in the world and to help provide treatment for 50 million patients. The system will be designed to allow access to that record by 30,000 providers and 270 acute, community, and mental health facilities. Basic information should be available in the NHS Care Records Service by the end of 2004, with patient-accessible records expected by 2010.

"Overall, the NHS is on track in terms of being able to make decisions as far as what vendors will be doing," said Barry Heib, research director at Gartner Healthcare. "The bigger issue is making it work. There is a good chance this (project) will be a success."

The final Care Records Service contract will be awarded in January and will cover the southern part of the U.K.

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