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Constant changes drove Fujitsu away

18 June 2008

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Fujitsu pulled out of the National Programme for IT in the NHS (NPfIT) due to the constant pressure from local trusts to change the centrally-mandated NHS IT systems, MPs have been told.

Peter Hutchinson, UK public services group director at Fujitsu Services, also told MPs that trusts “withheld payment” in order to force Fujitsu to make changes to the system beyond the contractual agreement.

“We’ve so far received 615 change requests,” Hutchinson said.

The Public Accounts Committee was probing key figures in the NHS and Fujitsu about the problems plaguing the £12.7bn National Programme for IT programme. NPfIT has been rocked by the departure of Fujitsu, the second local service provider (LSP) to leave the programme.

The Fujitsu spokesperson also said the original brief was for standardisation of systems, but the constant need to change systems to meet local requirements was a major cause of delay.

“When we set up the project it was clear that we would set up in four releases: Release 0, 1, 2, and 3. Release 0 was subject to many changes and that is what has delayed the contract. Payment disputes were a side-effect of that.”

Hutchinson added that the change process “is very onerous on trusts” and so most trusts chose to be “less ambitious and apply less functionality than was available”.

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