The French data firm Atos has been awarded a new £25 million contract with the UK’s Ministry of Defence, just months after winning a £394.7 million deal with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).
Atos said the deal would help upgrade the MoD’s computer systems and digitise the delivery of healthcare for the defence services.
Defence ministers are embarking on the CORTISONE programme to integrate its systems and reduce costs by using off-the-shelf products, rather than expensive tailor-made ones.
Philip Chalmers, senior vice president of sales and marketing of Atos in UK and Ireland, said: “By adapting commercial industry standard products to create this suite of medical information services, the CORTISONE programme will provide the Defence Medical Services with an integrated and flexible capability that enables digital transformation in the delivery of healthcare within defence.”
The Government has used Atos for several years across the DWP to assess disability benefits claimants, but has faced criticism over the number of successful appeals won by disabled Britons challenging their assessments.
The assessment process for PIP – the benefit that replaced the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) in 2013 – had been particularly targeted by campaigners for the ways in which severely ill patients were classed as “fit for work”.
Government figures from June showed 9,320 complaints were received about PIP assessments in the year to February 2019 – a 6,000% increase in three years.
But ministers stuck with Atos, awarding it a two-year extension in June to continue carrying out the PIP assessments.
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