Department close to settling 10-year NPfIT legal battle with Fujitsu


The Department of Health and Social Care is reported to have nearly settled a 10-year litigation case with Fujitsu concerning a contract dating back to the National Programme for IT.

A legal dispute between the DHSC and the Japanese IT supplier has been raging since 2008, when Fujitsu’s £896m contract for the South of England was terminated.

The company had been contracted to install Cerner’s Millennium Electronic Patient Record software at NHS trusts across the south under the National Programme for IT (NPfIT), but left the programme with just nine live deployments in place.

It was widely reported at the time that Fujitsu subsequently sought a £700m settlement from the DHSC, with the ensuring litigation battle running up tens of millions of pounds in legal costs for the NHS.

Digital Health News understands that following an earlier £65m payment, the DHSC has now settled with Fujitsu for a further payment, said to be in the region of £400m.

According to HSJ, the terms have been agreed but a final settlement has been held up by a related legal dispute

Digital Health understand that the related dispute in question is between Fujitsu and Cerner, with Cerner claiming millions in damages from Fujitsu for lost earnings associated with the ending of NPfIT’s contract in the South of England in 2008.

Cerner remains at the heart of current NHS IT policy, as the largest supplier of EPR systems under NHS England’s acute Global Digital Exemplar programme.

The sites where Fujitsu was due to deliver Cerner Millennium were eventually taken over by BT, which delivered the same Cerner system to London trusts. BT was subsequently itself replaced as prime contractor when the NPfIT-era contracts came to an end.

A Fujitsu spokesperson said: “This is not an area Fujitsu can provide comment on as it relates to a confidential legal matter and we do not, as a matter of course, comment on specific Government contracts.”

The DHSC was unable to provide a comment on legal grounds.

Its historical dispute with Fujitsu is understood to have influenced its negotiations with DXC Technologies – then CSC –  which was contracted to deliver the Lorenzo electronic patient record to trusts in the North, Midlands and East of England during the NPfIT.

Fujitsu’s £896 million contract was terminated when the programme suffered massive delays.

Renegotiation attempts were struck up in 2007. After failing to reach an agreement, Fujitsu told eHealth Insider – the forbear to Digital Health News – that it was withdrawing from negotiations.

NPfIT, under the leadership of the former director general for IT, Richard Granger, famously claimed that it would only pay suppliers upon successful delivery and boasted that its contracts were eye-wateringly tight.

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