£250m Local NHS records project canned

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The Blackberd project, run by the Birmingham and The Black Country Strategic Health Authority, was to link the EPR systems in its 12 NHS Trusts. The procurement started last October and potential suppliers were awaiting the second detailed specification of the project’s requirements.

But according to an email seen by‘s sister publication Computing, the project will not go ahead because it does not fit in with the Department of Health’s (DoH) strategy to create an integrated care records system linking EPR systems nationwide.

“Towards the end of March the National Programme told Blackberd that it would not receive any national funding support if it continued to run a procurement that was outside of the National Programme.

“The Blackberd business case is most likely to be unaffordable without support from national IT funds. Consequently the project board decided it should not proceed with the procurement,” says the email from Blackberd programme director Andrew Haw to potential suppliers.

But a spokesman for the DoH said work on Blackberd would not be wasted.

“The National Programme will almost certainly deliver in a similar timeframe to that originally envisaged by Blackberd and much of the good work which has been done has been included in the national specification,” he said.

Suppliers spent large amounts of money bidding for the deal, but a lot of the technical work will go towards the specification for the national system.

“A lot of the work is the same, so what we have done for Blackberd we will be able to adapt and use for the National Programme,” said an EDS spokeswoman.

But some experts were concerned from the start that the project would not go ahead.

“There was a joke that it was the Blackberd that wouldn’t fly – but it was worth £250m and was very prestigious so people had to go for it,” said one industry source.

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