Atos Signs a Five Year Deal with the Department of Health


The company behind controversial Work Capability Assessment will continue working for the NHS

Atos, an international IT services company, has been awarded a five-year contract worth £74 million by the UK Department of Health.  The contract requires Atos to deliver an integrated IT desktop service plus a range of supporting services within the Department of Health (DH) and for some of its Arms Length Bodies (such as Care Quality Commission and Health Protection Agency).

According to DH, the contract will result in savings of around 40 percent on the current cost of service across five years. It supports the aims of the Government Strategy for ICT, both in reducing costs and ensuring the necessary infrastructure is in place to deliver reforms and modernisation in the future.

Wayne Gibson, Senior Vice President, Government and Health at Atos said: “Our new solution makes the Government’s ICT Strategy, Sustainability and Open Source initiatives a reality. We will work with SMEs and use Open Source software to deliver a service that offers value for money.”

As part of the contract, Atos will deliver a comprehensive internal communication programme and people training. It will also create a new data centre infrastructure.

Troubles in the past

Last year, Atos attracted a lot of criticism for its handling of the incapacity benefit application system. The government report called the system “flawed”, and this was proven further by the high number of appeals and the high success rate of appellants. In response, the company issued legal threats against websites and forums that described patients’ unpleasant experiences of the assessment process, accusing them of libel.

The government report also highlighted concerns about the number of testing centres that were not accessible to people with disabilities.

It is also worth noting that some of the previous attempts to modernise the DH infrastructure have failed spectacularly, namely the  £12.7 billion NHS Programme for IT.

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