Fujitsu bows out of British healthcare
LONDON, U.K. – Plans for a national database containing all patient records hit further
trouble after one of the main contractors pulled out. Negotiations
between the Department for Heath and Japanese computer giant Fujitsu
broke down before the first scheduled roll-out of the system in southern
The project will create a single electronic records system for patients,
but has been dogged by delays and is already four years late, according
to a report in the Daily Telegraph newspaper.
Fujitsu was one of three main suppliers of the system and had held a
contract worth £895m for the south of England, from Kent to Cornwall.
The company said it had withdrawn from negotiations, as it did not feel
there was any prospect of an acceptable conclusion.
Stephen O’Brien, a shadow health minister, said: “The government’s
attempts to ram through a top-down, centralized, one-size-fits-all
central NHS computer system have come crashing down around their ears.”
Several contractors involved in the deal are said to have complained
that the government has been inflexible in specifications, in order to
keep costs within budget.
During re-negotiations, contractors signed deals ensuring they would
only be paid when services were delivered and working.
Recent breaches in security across several Government departments, and
in the NHS, have led many doctors to doubt whether putting all patients’
details in a national database is a sensible idea at all.
Nine out of 10 doctors said they have no confidence in the Government’s
ability to keep patients’ electronic medical records safe. The
overwhelming majority of the 219 who responded to a British Medical
Association survey said they did not feel they were in a position to
assure patients that their data would be protected.
In December the government admitted that the medical records of hundreds
of thousands of patients had gone missing from nine NHS trusts.