A review of one of the key software products being developed for the national IT programme has warned that it is not only delayed but presents a 'significant risk' of not meeting requirements.

A review of one of the key software products being developed for the national IT programme has warned that it is not only delayed but presents a 'significant risk' of not meeting requirements.

The review of iSoft's Lorenzo administrative and clinical systems was done in February by Accenture and Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), local service providers for the programme's North East, Eastern and North West clusters.

Its aim was to establish whether Lorenzo would be 'fit for purpose' and in what timescale' and whether iSoft and its local service providers could 'form the type of working relationship' to deliver it to the NHS.

The review, a copy of which has been seen by HSJ, found cause for concern on all points. It says Lorenzo is being built from the bottom up, with features being added to form increasingly complex versions, rather than from the top down, with features tailored to programme requirements.

As a result, there is a 'significant risk' that a 'significant rework' of the product will be needed to close a gap with programme requirements, adding to already substantial delays.

When iSoft won the contracts, it said a first version of Lorenzo would be available in 2004. In January this year, it issued a profits warning and admitted that systems would be 'later than previously expected'.

The authors of the leaked review were told that a basic version of Lorenzo for GPs should be available later this year, with more sophisticated versions following in 2007 and 2008. However, they conclude that even these dates are likely to be 'highly optimistic'.

iSoft said further work with its LSPs had shown that Lorenzo was 'broadly aligned' to national programme requirements, and that it had developed an action plan to address the issues in the review. CSC reaffirmed its commitment to working with iSoft and seconded 'a substantial number of staff' to work on Lorenzo. Accenture said it is working to 'enhance the development process'.

NHS Connecting for Health would not comment on the leak, but said it expected contractors to manage subcontractors to deliver the required specifications.