The NHS has signed a four year framework agreement for Capgemini for an undisclosed rate to supply technology and services when existing key suppliers are unable to fulfil commitments.

The agreement between Capgemini and Connecting for Health - which provides new IT systems to GP surgeries and hospitals - will support the £12.4bn National Programme for IT (NPfIT) as well as other NHS IT projects.

"These contracts are intended to supplement the existing supply capacity and to enable new requirements to be met through a readily available approved framework and to mitigate risks of existing suppliers being unable to meet contractual commitments," said the NHS in a statement.

Capgemini will supplement the services of key suppliers, including CSC, BT and Fujitsu, and provide additional capacity when needed. Other suppliers to NPfIT include Atos Origin, EDS, Logica, Siemens and T-Systems.

The NHS said it was attempting to make its technology and services procurement more effective.

The tender process for an ICT supplier began one year ago. Capgemini won bids in the ICT category, where it will support the setup of existing non-clinical systems and provide new non-clinical systems and services when new requirements emerge. It also won in the hardware, infrastructure and associated services category, where it will provide goods and consultancy services.

The IT services firm is also working on the Aspire contract with HM Revenue & Customs, is a supplier to the Learning and Skills Council, and also has a £40m contract with the Department for Children, Schools and Families, to set up and run an online directory aimed at improving child protection.

Earlier in the month, it emerged that NHS IT suppliers would face a £1.5bn shortfall because of NPfIT project delays. Suppliers are only paid when the technology they implement is up and running.