InHealth Group, the acquisitive UK health services, equipment and IM&T firm, today announced it has acquired the UK business of Australian health IT supplier IBA Health Limited

The deal is valued at £5.2m excluding annual support fees and the option for future software licences. InHealth Group is also investing £1.8m in ordinary shares of IBA and Alan Gibson, CEO of InHealth Group has been invited to join their Board.

IBA Health Limited will in future trade under the name InHealth Solutions. IBA will be relieved of responsibility for financial commitments under existing UK contracts, and will instead focus on software development and licensing rather than systems implementation.

IBA Health Limited’s currently has major NHS contracts with Kettering, South Manchester, George Elliott and Scarborough NHS Trusts, for PAS, clinical information systems and integration solutions leading to the development of EPRs

Alan Gibson, InHealth Group’s CEO, commented: "The acquisition of IBA is a neat strategic fit continuing our growth and consolidation of the health IM&T side of the business."

Gibson told E-Health Media that IBA had the right products to complement InHealth Group’s existing suite of systems, and pointed out that IBA remained on the short-list for a number of major NHS procurements.

He added that the NHS IT procurements were moving towards larger PFI-style contracts requiring firms with heavyweight financial backing. "We have got a large amount of financial clout behind us and are committed for the long-term," said Gibson.

The acquisition and partnership deals should strengthen InHealth Group’s position in the public sector health market in the United Kingdom and Ireland, where the firm is already a leading supplier in the managed diagnostic and imaging services sector.

InHealth Solutions, currently supplies clinical applications together with IT services including applications management, integration, desktop and network management.

Long-term, IBA and InHealth Group will work in partnership under two forms – IBA will have responsibility for software development and InHealth Group will provide the distribution channel, implementation and support skills for UK and Ireland.

Gibson commented: "The renewed and continued commitment of the Government in striving for increased uptake of EHR is a key driver for InHealth Group and IBA to continue providing first class services and solutions to this growth area.”

Gary Cohen, executive chairman of IBA, said that he was excited at the prospect of combining with InHealth Group to fully exploit the enormous potential of the UK and Ireland markets.

InHealth Group says that its main focus of development is to enhance both primary and secondary health solutions with a particular focus on developing electronic patient records and the ability create electronic health records that track patients across primary and secondary health organisations.

Gibson indicated that further acquisitions may follow. "We are in acquisition mode and are in discussion with a number of parties".