15 December 2004 The rollout of a broadband network intended to revolutionise the National Health Service (NHS) has fallen so far behind, provider BT is set incur a £4.5 million fine.
The NHS signed a £530 million contract with BT for a national broadband network in April this year.
But the project is behind schedule, and the NHS is now looking claim recompense to the tune of £4.5 million.
During its tendering process of the £6 billion NHS IT improvement programme, many vendors walked away, complaining over the stringent penalty clauses.
According to Richard Granger, the director of the programme, the aim of the project is to create a “digital NHS”. This includes digitising administrative functions between patients and doctors, such as being able to make appointment online. A faster connection speed also means that doctors will be able to exchange visual data, such as video and x-rays, more quickly, improving patient care.
Both the NHS and BT face incurred costs as a result of the delayed rollout: NHS has had to continue to use its old link, which is much slower and more costly. BT, meanwhile, will have to offset the higher revenues it receives from the old system against compensation penalties from the new contract.