NHS spending gives iSoft profits healthy glow

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The Independent Online

The healthcare software specialists iSoft, delivered a tonic to investors yesterday, saying Government spending to modernise the NHS had driven underlying profits up 52 per cent to £23.5m.

The company's shares surged 10 per cent to 286.5p on the better than expected results. ISoft also unveiled a tie-up with Microsoft which, it said, put it in a good position to take part in the £2.3bn healthcare spending programme unveiled by the Government.

The company is one of very few in the IT sector to have positive news for the City. While others are still suffering from the deflation of their share price and a dearth of new contracts, iSoft said its own market was "very dynamic".

Its shares still lag behind the high they reached of over 300p, but they are well above their 110p float price in July 2000.

Patrick Cryne, the chief executive, said: "The financial value of our procurements is likely to rise in all our markets as governments seek to progress modernisation of information technology more rapidly."

The company provides the NHS with the software systems for keeping patients' records. It also provides software for health systems in Australia and Scandinavia.

Mr Cryne said it expected the Government's plan to pour a further £2.3bn into modernising the health service to go ahead, with its roll-out expected next year.

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