BT wins £530m NHS broadband contract

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The Independent Online

BT Group's strategy of replacing its traditional fixed-line telephony business in favour of more hi-tech telecoms services received another fillip yesterday with the award of a third recent contract win from the National Health Service.

The £530m, seven-year contract will involve BT building and managing a high-speed broadband communications network that will carry data between 18,000 NHS sites, including hospitals and doctors' surgeries. It beat off competition from Cable & Wireless.

BT has already won a contract to build the NHS's national patient recorddatabase, which will hold an electronic summary of patients' records and it has been appointed to supply London's NHS patient records system that connects with the national database.

The contracts are worth £1.6bn and yesterday's announcement takes BT's contract wins from the NHS to more than £2.1bn. However, BT will be required to purchase products and services from competing suppliers.

The new national network will allow NHS staff to send large data files such as X-rays, as well as set up videolinks so patients can receive specialist advice and treatment locally rather than have to travel to specialist centres.

Ben Verwaayen, the chief executive of BT, said: "This is evidence that the marketplace is changing and that BT can bring to bear the capabilities needed to win these contracts."