BT looking at Middle East health market

BT looking at Middle East health market

But the UK NHS programme is still behind and the contracts are being revisited

BT is starting talks with the Qatari government about the expansion of its healthcare business in the Gulf states.

The company holds £2bn-worth of NHS contracts - for the network, national electronic patient records spine and London implementation of the £12bn National Programme in the UK.

"BT has proved itself as a world-class IT services organisation through the successful delivery of its large-scale contracts for the NHS," said BT Global Services chief executive Francois Barrault.

"We are accelerating our investment in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) in recognition of the fact that this is one of the fastest growing ICT markets in the world.

"The health sector is a particularly interesting area for us to explore, given the wealth of experience we have from playing a leading role in delivering a national healthcare IT system in the UK."

But the ten-year NHS scheme is behind schedule and health service chief executive David Nicholson told parliament's Health Committee yesterday that there are discussions underway with the main suppliers about "adjustments" to the contracts.

"There are things in them we would like to alter," said Nicholson.

Nicholson denied that costs were overrunning on the programme but BT contracts have already been revised and discussion with two of the other major suppliers – Fujitsu and CSC – are also underway.