NHS changes schedule for Accenture

The United Kingdom's National Health Service has agreed to revise deployment schedules on Accenture's two contracts with the UK Department of Health.

Stephen Rohleder, the integrator's chief operating officer, announced the agreement during a presentation at the UBS Software and IT Services Conference in New York. "We now have alignment on the deployment schedules and ... are executing in lockstep with the client against those deployment schedules," he said.

In April, Accenture reported that delays in deploying systems under its NHS contracts cut into the company's second-quarter profit margin. The company's operating margin fell to 11.4 percent in the second quarter compared with 12.6 percent for the year-earlier period.

Accenture captured the pair of 10-year contracts in late 2003. The contracts call for Accenture to build and manage information systems to support patient care and services. New patient record systems will support about 9.5 million UK citizens, according to Accenture.

Company officials last month said Accenture could lose $110 million to $150 million on the NHS contracts in the current fiscal year. However, the company's quarterly 10Q filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission also stated that officials expect reduced losses over the next two fiscal years and profits for the rest of the NHS contracts' term once new deployment schedules are set.

The NHS contracts stem from a decision Accenture made about two years ago to expand its practice in the health and life sciences field, Rohleder said.

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