Belfast Telegraph

70 jobs to go at US healthcare firm

By John Mulgrew

A United States healthcare firm, which is pulling out of Belfast with the loss of 70 jobs, received more than £500,000 in aid from Invest NI.

Just last year CVS Health revealed it was set to add 100 jobs at its software development centre, which opened in 2012.

But little over a year after the announcement, it's now pulling out of the city.

Invest NI offered almost £2m to the firm, towards creating the new jobs and "skills development". CVS has drawn down £538,000 of that money.

Invest NI has said it will "determine clawback relating to CVS offers and pursue this in due course".

A spokesman for CVS said it "continually reviews its operations" and following a "thorough evaluation process, we are considering the closure of our IT operations in Belfast".

"We will be entering into a 30-day period of consultation with employees in order to explore ways of avoiding compulsory redundancies, and to minimise the number of employees affected and the consequences of compulsory redundancy," he said.

"This is not a reflection of the excellent work which has been carried out by our IT operations colleagues in Belfast over the past three years."

Invest NI said the proposed job losses are "deeply regrettable".

"Invest NI will continue to liaise closely with the company to explore all options and to seek to mitigate the impact of the potential closure.

"The staff are highly qualified and experienced IT professionals and we are confident that their skills and expertise will be in demand within the Northern Ireland ICT sector."

CVS's Northern Ireland operation writes software for the firm's mobile apps that deal with services such as prescription orders.

The firm, which is headquartered in Rhode Island in the US, is currently number 18 on the Fortune 500 list of companies.

It is the largest pharmacy healthcare provider in the US and employs more than 200,000 staff.

It has more than 7,000 chemist shops and 800 retail medical clinics.

The news comes after the Belfast Telegraph revealed earlier this year that another US firm, Revel Systems - in line for £700,000 in taxpayer funding to create 89 jobs - had shut its Belfast office just seven months after arriving here.

The Californian-based company arrived in the city amid much fanfare during a high-profile media launch with ministers Arlene Foster and Stephen Farry in December 2014.

It had been earmarked to receive £445,000 from Invest NI and a further £245,000 in training support from the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL).

Belfast Telegraph