BT and CSC are both competing to scoop up NHS Trusts that were formerly served by Fujitsu under the £12.7 billion National Programme for IT.
Trusts across the south and south east regions of the programme are likely to choose either one of the two remaining prime suppliers, BT and CSC, CIO sister title Computerworld UK has learnt, after the departure of Fujitsu in May.
The news comes as the NHS considers an about-turn on patient confidentiality, reviewing the controversial assumption of patient consent to have their details stored on the central NHS data spine.
BT, which serves the London part of the programme, had been tipped to win the work with the trusts because it provides the same Cerner Millennium care records system as Fujitsu did.
CSC, which is rolling out technology in the north west, west Midlands, east Midlands, north east and east ‘clusters’, uses the iSoft Lorenzo care records system instead.
Last month the government, in its Health Informatics Review, told NHS trusts not to wait for the national programme, but instead to submit business cases for technology from additional framework suppliers on the programme.
Health minister Ben Bradshaw had also told MPs that the NHS programme would cost £4.5 billion more if local trusts used their own IT systems outside of the existing frameworks.
It is understood from sources close to the negotiations that most of the trusts will choose from only BT or CSC, instead of the many alternative suppliers under the Additional Supply Capability and Capacity (ASCC) framework. They will engage ASCC suppliers for interim and supplementary resources to keep the rollout on track.
BT confirmed it is showcasing its systems to eight Cerner Millennium-based trusts formerly run by Fujitsu, as well as strategic health authorities. CSC confirmed it is also in talks with trusts in the south east.
An NHS spokesperson said in a statement: "Demonstrations have taken place in the South East Coast Strategic Health Authority by both CSC and BT.
“This is in line with the undertaking given by the NHS at the time of the termination of the Fujitsu contract that trusts could consider a range of options with regard to their requirements going forwards."
Meanwhile, the NHS confirmed it was assessing the proposals of a recent review by University College London, which questioned the ethics and legality of a system that assumed patients had consented to be part of the system if they hadn’t taken action to opt out.
Under new proposals, the NHS would ensure patients have control over granting doctors ‘permission to access’ their summary care records when they first enter hospitals for an appointment.
“We have accepted the advice given us by our external stakeholder body, the Summary Care Record Advisory Group and now wish to look actively at implementing a new approach to consent,” the NHS said in a statement, explaining that organisations representing doctors and nurses would be consulted first.
“We are also progressing other issues raised in the UCL evaluation which include ensuring the scope of the SCR is clear, being transparent about benefits and drawbacks of implementation and managing change so that people and relationships, rather than technology, are the focus,” it added.Related stories: