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Connelly hunts for Pennine replacement

19 April 2011   Jon Hoeksma

NHS chief information officer Christine Connelly is looking for a replacement mental health trust to take Lorenzo from CSC, the local service provider for the North, Midlands and East of England.

EHealth Insider reported exclusively last Friday that Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust had withdrawn from becoming the vital last 'early adopter' for the iSoft electronic patient record.

Now the Department of Health is looking for a replacement, despite its previous insistence that CSC had to deliver the latest version of the software to four NHS trusts by the end of March to unlock contract payment milestones, or risk of having its contract ended.

An internal CSC email, seen by EHI, states Pennine Care decided to withdraw because of a “lack of confidence in being able to deploy Lorenzo into live service in the near future."

With delivery of Lorenzo now six years late, CSC has been re-negotiations over its £3 billion LSP contract for the NME for more than a year.

In March 2010, CSC had to provide a remediation plan, which it has subsequently failed to deliver.

The plan, and so the negotiations, hinged on CSC delivering four beta sites: NHS Bury, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham Women’s NHS Foundation Trust, and then Pennine Care.

In February, the DH said that because of a missed delivery date at Pennine Care it had notified CSC that it was in breach of contract and that it was considering terminating the firm’s contract. March was set as a final deadline for the trust to go-live with the system.

However, it now appears that CSC will be given yet another final chance. In a letter to MP Richard Bacon last week, Connelly described CSC’s lack of progress as “very disappointing” but said other mental health trusts were being approached.

“The failure of CSC to meet the Pennine Care planned go-live date was very disappointing, particularly given the assurances given to the Minister for the Cabinet Office when he and I met with CSC in December.

"Following extensive discussions, Pennine Care have agreed, with their strategic health authority, that they will no longer deploy Lorenzo and will be considering all available options to them.

“However, other trusts in the North Midlands and East are considering becoming the early adopter of Lorenzo mental health functionality and this is currently being explored further.”

An internal CSC email on Pennine’s decision to withdraw goes much further, indicating that the DH has already decided to stick with CSC.

The email from David Morris, Lorenzo product management and deployment services, CSC Alliance, says: “The Authority has clearly expressed an appetite for quickly moving beyond this and sustaining the momentum we've established.

"The ways in which this appetite is portrayed by individual people around the programme or outside the programme (eg the media) may lead some to question the Authority's intent, but all stated communications suggest this latest challenge is one that will be jointly tackled by CSCA and the Authority.”

Bacon, a member of the Commons Public Accounts Committee who has closely followed the £12.7 billion NHS IT programme, told EHI: “Pennine's withdrawal should be a body blow to CSC and iSoft.

"They were given a clear set of targets to meet by the Department of Health, including successful installation of the Lorenzo system at Pennine by March this year. They have clearly failed, yet again."

Bacon said he was amazed that the search was on for new trusts to take Lorenzo. “NHS Connecting for Health is supposed to help the NHS develop successful IT systems, not help to find new victims for these failed companies and their failed systems. Far from finding IT solutions, CfH are now deliberately developing new problems."

One EHI NHS reader from the North West posted a comment in support of Pennine’s decision: “In my opinion, Pennine have been diligent in their end user testing and, unlike other early adopters, have refused to deploy a product which in their view wasn't fit for purpose.”

The EHI reader added: “Like the rest of us who stayed on the Lorenzo bus, they invested considerable time and money into trying to get this turkey to fly.”

Another EHI reader suggested CSC may finally be the one to abandon Lorenzo, if it completes its acquisition of iSoft. “If anyone calls time on Lorenzo I predict it will be CSC - since they now have some secondary care systems actually fit for deployment in their portfolio.”

The National Audit Office is due to publish its third report into the NHS IT programme this summer.

Read EHI's editorial on where Pennine Care's departure leaves the CSC negotiations.


Related Articles:

9 News: Pennine Care ditches Lorenzo | 15 April 2011
12 News: DH considers CSC contract termination | 10 February 2011
1 News: Pennine on brink of dropping Lorenzo | 11 October 2010
Last updated: 21 April 2011 15:41

© 2011 EHealth Media.


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With apologies to Monty Python...but it has to be said Christine:

Futureviewer 177 weeks ago

Lorenzo's passed on! This system is no more! It has ceased to be! Its expired and gone to meet its maker! Its a stiff! Bereft of life, It rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed it to the National Programme it would be pushing up the daisies! Its computing processes are now istory 'Its off the twig! Its kicked the bucket, Its shuffled off this mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin choir invisibile!! THIS IS AN EX-SYSTEM !


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Behind the scenes

just_instantiate 177 weeks ago

In a sense, Lorenzo's qualities, or lack of, are beside the point. Any CEO is going to ask him or herself "why, if the Pennine Trust could not get it working after all this time, would it be any different in mine?" In most cases that will remain a rhetorical question that few if any will bother to try and answer. Having made threats to CSC, the DH's backdown presumably means that it is not confident that CSC actually is in breach of contract, so the search sounds like a last ditch effort to avoid having to pay them money to do nothing. One wonders what threats and bribes are having to be deployed in order to persuade a CEO to make such a counter-intuitive decision as to get involved in this project.


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As previously posted in this thread-

Gibbs 177 weeks ago

"Yes Pennine were diligent at testing and yes they did not want to accept a solution that was not "fit for purpose".

Were they willing to be a true Early Adopter Trust - probably not, did they actually EVER want to go live with Lorenzo - probably not. "

Next time, lets hope the the Early Adoptor fully understands what is required of them. Somehow i don't think Pennine ever grasped this from day.


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To sign or not to sign?

Lyn from eHealth Insider 177 weeks ago

The last two posts raise the issue of whether Lorenzo should have been developed as a healthcare community wide system. And, given that it's no longer destined for GP practices, whether it should now be 'de-scoped' further so it is concentrated on the acute sector. If it was, would that make delivery more likely: and if so, would the cost still be worth it?


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Further de-scope?

george385 177 weeks ago

If LORENZO is de-scoped any further there will be nothing to deliver? And just how much over the odds will the taxpayer be paying for it?

This sort of mess would not be tolerated in the commercial sector between two commercial entities. I'd suggest that its up to the DH to do something.

There needs to be a public enquiry following this.


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Lorenzo probably does have the capability to do a good job, but when and why the delay?

John Aird 178 weeks ago

As an (Acute) IM&T Director throughout the 2000's I watched Lorenzo with keen interest and an expectation that one day we would implement it.

The (many) presentations and seminars showed a system of considerable value to the NHS, albeit one that would require substantial process change in the way we manage patients and clinicians. But the potential was exciting and challenging.

However, progress seemed to become "jam tomorrow"and scope reduction. As a leader, of both of a department and the Trust's IT strategy, one can only "march the troops up the hill" so many times before credability wears thin.

Given the considerable resources that iSoft and CSC had at their disposal and how long development was taking, one was increasingly left wondering just what was going on. But all we really got were heroic delivery dates.

I still think that Lorenzo can be a success and that if implemented properly (which will be costly) could fundamentally change the was hospitals plan and manage their activity. Think how such refined (patient) process management could assist cash strapped Trusts. But I also think we need (we deserve) some straight talking from CFH about what has gone wrong to date and some credible product proposals that result in the full Lorenzo programme, not just a PAS/OC swap.


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What is Christine and CSC playing at

columbas 178 weeks ago

The big question is what does this mean for the rest of the programme?

For me it is clear both parties want out but they don't want to be the one to end the marriage and pay compensation. A product that will be rolled out to very few trusts is no good to either party.

CSCA want to concentrate on foreign markets and deal with trusts directly and would love to leave the programme. Lets remember this was due to be rolled out across the region but the number of trusts willing to take Lorenzo is now very small which means that CSC will get peanuts for their work. Off course if they could get some compensation from the DH even better.

The DH , if they were serious about the programme would relax the requirement that no further deployments can take place without a MH trust going live.? They now have to find a new trust , possibly Cambridge and Peterborough but it will up to a year before they are really ready to go live and sign off the deployment. They must surely realise that this is madness as even less trusts will take the product. Where is the sense in that? The potential uptake of the product is getting smaller and smaller. They know CSC won't stomach this and they are trying to force CSC to pul out

The sensible route would be to bin MH altogether and salvage something from the programme by concentrating on getting Bury , Morecambe and Birmingham fully signed off , devote resources to making the product much more user friendly and then market it to the wider NHS. This is a no brainer but for whatever reasons no side is willing to do this.


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What did the contracts say about uptake?

Mary Hawking 177 weeks ago

"CSCA want to concentrate on foreign markets and deal with trusts directly and would love to leave the programme. Lets remember this was due to be rolled out across the region but the number of trusts willing to take Lorenzo is now very small which means that CSC will get peanuts for their work."

IIRC, the only requirement was that the LSP should have a system deemed suitable for roll-out - and then the LSP would get paid for all the Trusts which had been signed up by DH without any consultation **whether or not the Trusts took the product**.

If my recollection is correct, compensation would be horrendous.

Not sure whether DH and HMG would consider that forcing Trusts to take a product that did not provide what they needed and wanted would cause sufficient problems to be worth paying anything they couldn't avoid - and in any case it wasn't one but three contracts at the beginning - with significant but unexplained differences.


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Quality of Leaders/ Management in the DOH

george385 178 weeks ago

Christine Connelly's inability to make a decision seems endemic within the DOH and speaks volumes.

.....still its only taxpayers money....


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Come on please...

The mind boggles... 178 weeks ago

Lorenzo and the NHS has been a marriage made in hell from the outset. What on earth is happening here - this is not paper, scissors, rock - what is Connelly doing continuing with her support for CSC? Is it not somewhat contradictory to what Lansley has also been saying recently, or was that just puff!?


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The mind boggles...
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You missed this in your write up

Gibbs 178 weeks ago

Another E-Health Insider reader wrote

"Yes Pennine were diligent at testing and yes they did not want to accept a solution that was not "fit for purpose".

Were they willing to be a true Early Adopter Trust - probably not, did they actually EVER want to go live with Lorenzo - probably not. "


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Would anyone?

Contrarian 178 weeks ago

Would any Trust now be willing to be an early adopter for LORENZO? Apart from the financial incentives offered for those willing to take the system, is there any real benefit?

There are much better, functional, working and deployed systems out there, available at considerably less cost than via LSP.

Come on Chrsitine, be brave, make the brave decision....end the debacle and lets move forward on a shared understanding of what NHS IT needs to be.


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Team work!!

Lola123 178 weeks ago

Responding to the comment "It's CSC's job to make it happen."

Is it?

I think this should be a team effort - Trust, CfH, CSC, iSoft.

Was that really the case at Pennine Care-doubtful!


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Future?

James Summerson 178 weeks ago

TCP "I've only seen the future. It's CSC's job to make it happen."

Which they have failed to do, either in the past or present. What makes you think the future will be different?


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Seeing the future....

george385 178 weeks ago

Show me ePrescribing with full knowledge base support (NOT TTO/OP Prescribing)?

Some of us have been involved in shaping the future and are fed up with smoke and mirrors at the taxpayers expense.


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Everyone is entitled to an opinion

Contrarian 178 weeks ago

TCP everyone is entitled to an opinion. I try to make mine informed on evidence, which may be rare in the NHS!

Could you qualify the statement "nothing touches Lorenzo. It's streets ahead of anything else, so it's a pity Pennine couldn't stay the course"?

Lorenzo has not been deployed on a Trust wide basis anywhere in the NHS and is many years late. Do you mean by time zone? Chennai streets are several hours ahead of the UK and that is where Lorenzo may be at the moment, but who knows maybe you've seen a working version somewhere.


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In response to george385

TCP 178 weeks ago

I've only seen the future. It's CSC's job to make it happen.


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In response to TCP

george385 178 weeks ago

"..The sad truth is, nothing touches Lorenzo. It's streets ahead of anything else, so it's a pity Pennine couldn't stay the course..."

Prove it: Install it and get it signed off!


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Brave and interesting

stan 10 178 weeks ago

TCP: Well done on defending Lorenzo but in what way is Lorenzo streets ahead of anything else?


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Would anyone?

TCP 178 weeks ago

I would dispute your claim that "There are much better, functional, working and deployed systems out there, available at considerably less cost than via LSP."

The sad truth is, nothing touches Lorenzo. It's streets ahead of anything else, so it's a pity Pennine couldn't stay the course.


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Yet another last chance ...

WLMD 178 weeks ago

When I clicked on the headline 'Connelly hunts for Pennine replacement', I was thinking good - she's promptly got onto the case of assisting/advising Pennine on what they should do instead of Lorenzo. But no: she's looking for someone else to take Lorenzo instead. Words fail me.


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Maybe it could have an Easter theme

Jon Hoeksma 177 weeks ago

Now with Easter looming the 'hunting for a replacement' heasline has a different meaning, more like an Easter egg hunt. Quite like the idea though of the NHS CIO hunting for replacements to Lorenzo stashed around a park or rolling them down a hill - would certainly be a hands on approach to testing.


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Suprise, suprise

John Harry 178 weeks ago

The Department of Health has now put thet ball on the penality spot and removed the goalkeeper. It is still three to one against CSC scoring with Lorenzo.


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