The systems integrator has washed its hands of two major contracts to deliver regional IT systems and services to the National Health Service (NHS). An alliance led by CSC will take over the contracts, the companies announced today. CSC already has a contract to deliver services in another region.

CSC valued the two Accenture contracts at up to £1.97 billion (US$3.73 billion) over nine years.

In March, Accenture said it had made a pretax provision of £305 million ($450m) to cover losses it expected to make on the two local service provider contracts, to implement and service regional IT systems in the North East and East of England.

Under the nationwide ‘Connecting for Health’ program to modernise NHS IT systems, CSC already has a contract to deliver services in the North West and West Midlands region.

Under an agreement between Accenture, CSC and the NHS, Accenture has until 8 January 2007 to transfer its responsibilities to CSC.

Accenture and CSC had both turned to the same supplier, iSoft, for the software necessary for the project.

In January, iSoft said it would deliver the software late, and in June restated financial results because of questions over the way it booked revenue before delivering products.

On Thursday, iSoft said it will remain the preferred supplier for the Northeast and East regions, and that it had settled outstanding disputes with Accenture.

"The relationship with Accenture was not terribly good," said John White, corporate communications director at iSoft. "They blamed a lot of their problems on us, quite falsely in my view," he said.

Some hospitals are already using the communications module of Lorenzo, the software iSoft is developing for the NHS project, and iSoft plans to roll out the other modules gradually.

"There has been some slippage, but not dramatic. The entire program has suffered a number of delays," White said.

On 11 August, iSoft renegotiated the delivery timetable for the software with CSC. That deal also covers the work iSoft must deliver in the North East and East regions, White said.