NHS trusts in the south of England - that were left without new patient administration systems following the departure of Fujitsu from the £12.7 billion National Programme for IT - will begin procurement by the end of April next year.
Deployments would then follow over the coming months, the government confirmed, as reported by E-Health Insider.
Trusts in the south were left without a long-term supplier after Fujitsu left the programme in 2008, as a result of a dispute over the costs of tailoring systems locally. Since then, four trusts have signed with NHS London supplier BT for new systems.
The rest of the southern trusts will choose from the suppliers in the Additional Supply Capability and Capacity framework. Those suppliers include Atos Origin, Logica, Siemens, Perot Systems, Tata Consultancy Services and Agfa Healthcare.
Some trusts are expected to run collaborative procurement, where they choose the same product, it was reported.
The news comes as NHS suppliers BT and CSC approach a deadline to prove they have implemented workable patient systems. Four weeks ago, CSC implemented the iSoft Lorenzo system at Bury, and BT is understood to be putting the final pieces into place at Kingston for the Cerner Millennium system.
But switching on the system alone will not be enough. The NHS has set a tough list of criteria through which it examines how usable the system is, and how many clinicians are regularly accessing it. The NHS confirmed this week that if there is a “clear failure”, then it will “consider a new plan for delivering health informatics to the NHS”.
The NHS has also started the full national rollout of summary care records. But doctors and patients told Computerworld UK they remained concerned about the quality of data on the records, and whether all patients understood what the records meant.