• NHSBT revised losses from IT project from £17m to £26.2m
  • Project was overseen by former CEO Ian Trenholm, who now leads CQC
  • Reassessment writes-off any added value associated with the project

A major IT project run by the Care Quality Commission’s current chief executive while at his previous employer racked up more than £26m in losses, the organisation has disclosed.

NHS Blood and Transplant’s annual report, published on Tuesday, revealed the organisation has revised the “constructive loss” from the abandoned IT project from £17m to £26.2m.

The IT project, known as the Core System Modernisation Programme, was overseen directly by NHSBT’s then-chief executive Ian Trenholm. He left the organisation in July last year to lead the CQC.

In a foreword, new NHSBT chief executive Betsy Bassis said the figure accounted for not just the money spent but the lost economic value from the project, which was meant to modernise the organisation’s IT systems.

She said: “Given ongoing support costs and duplication with our legacy system, we have concluded that it is prudent to declare the full investment of £26.2m as a constructive loss in these accounts.”

In May last year, HSJ revealed Mr Trenholm was leaving the IT project in a worrying state, massively delayed and with none of the core electronics systems planned up and running.

In September 2018, the board under new leadership voted to halt the programme completely, with a PwC review identifying “a lack of consistent programme leadership with experience in large technology transformation programmes, resource gaps and significant churn in both programme leadership and programme team members”.

The CQC, which is in the middle of its own multimillion-pound IT revamp, has defended the hiring of Mr Trenholm. In February 2018, CQC chair Peter Wyman told HSJ the NHSBT IT programme had “some success” and was “only one part of a complete technology refresh at NHSBT which took place during Ian’s leadership”.

By writing off the entire cost of the project, NHSBT’s annual report has effectively assigned the parts of the IT programme that were completed no value.

In a statement, Ms Bassis said: “Following the decision to halt our core systems modernisation programme last year, we have reviewed the value which the programme has delivered. With guidance from both the Treasury and [National Audit Office], we have decided that although we are using some of the systems developed, it would be prudent to report a constructive loss of the full £26m invested.

“NHS Blood and Transplant remains in a good position financially. Our financial controls have been audited as substantial and we ended the year with a larger than planned surplus because of the decision to stop spending on the core systems modernisation programme part way through the year.”