While the £6.2bn National Programme for NHS IT (NPfIT) seems to bring misery to some of its suppliers, BT has announced that it is close to completing the national broadband network that will underpin the programme.
More than 15,000 sites in England are now connected to the N3 network, making the roll-out 85 per cent complete.
BT, the largest supplier of IT to the NHS, believes it will connect all 18,000 sites in England, including hospitals and GP surgeries, by the target date of March 2007.
The telco was awarded the £530m contract for N3 in February 2004 along with the local service provider contract for London and the contract to build the central patient record database, known as the 'Spine'.
Despite the fact that iSoft, one of the second-tier suppliers to NPfIT, announced a loss of £343.8m in late August and is embroiled in a Financial Services Authority investigation, BT expects to make a profit over the life of the project.
Andy Green, chief executive of BT Global Services, said in a briefing to analysts yesterday that direct comparisons with performance in other local service provider areas are " inappropriate".
"It is important to concentrate on the performance of the company concerned, not to make generalisations [about the NPfIT project] from specific stories," he said.
BT has also announced the recruitment of Paul White, previously chief executive of St Bartolomew's & the London NHS Trust, to serve on the London programme.
"Paul's appointment will enable BT to work better with clinicians in London, " said Green.
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