Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust has gone out to tender for a patient administration system as a result of delays in the availability of a suitable system that meets the trust’s requirements under the NHS national programme for IT.

The acute hospital trust this week placed a procurement notice in the Official Journal of the European Union for a PAS for an initial period of three years, with the option for two further one year extensions. Northumblerand Healthcare has an urgent requirement to replace its existing McKesson PAS system, the contract for which expires in September.

A spokesperson for the trust told EHI: "“We are placing an advert due to the revised timetable for the national programme for IT." They added that the trust also remained "committed to implementing the national programme in line with the national timetable“.

Board papers from the trust’s strategic health authority describe the PAS solution currently on offer from local service provider Accenture as "relatively basic" and note that it "has not been considered suitable for use in most acute trusts".

Northumbria Healthcare is in the North East cluster of England’s NHS IT programme, where Accenture has sub-contracted iSoft to deliver NHS administrative and clinical software eventually leading to a full care records service (CRS) solution.

However, growing delays in the availability of the early software releases from iSoft have placed acute and mental trusts in urgent need of a new system in a difficult position. A vital software release, for PAS plus reporting and orders and results functionality, that was due to have been provided in September 2005, has yet to be delivered.

January board papers from Northumberland, Tyne and Wear Strategic Health Authority spell out the problems that delays in the delivery of the Lorenzo CRS product are creating for local NHS organisations.

"There has been substantial delay in the delivery of a patient administration system with sufficient functionality to meet the needs of the majority of acute trusts," states the SHA board paper by medical director Stephen Singleton and chief information officer Kevin Allan.

The board paper continues: "The currently-released PAS, Release 1.1 is in use in mental health (at the South of Tyne and Wearside Mental Health NHS Trust) and is planned for use by the Scarborough acute trust, but it is relatively basic and has not been considered suitable for use by most acute trusts."

Turning the timetable for future releases it states: "The next planned release, iP1R2 (interim Phase 1 Release 2) is intended to contain greater reporting functionality and an orders and results module. However, this release was due in September 2005 but is not yet available and no date for availability is yet set."

The delays are described as having a domino effect and making it impossible to plan effectively. "The failure to deliver iP1R2 has a knock-on effect throughout the programme that it is not currently possible to predict when all local NHS organisations will have LSP solutions in place…"

In December 2005 Norfolk and Norwich NHS Trust, located in the Eastern cluster of the national programme, decided to shelve implementation of an iSoft iPM PAS system.

In the same month Tees and North East Yorkshire NHS Trust, a mental health trust, also postponed an Accenture implementation of iSoft iPM. South West Yorkshire Mental Health Trust has also gone outside the NPfIT programme to procure a new integrated clinical system, as an ‘interim solution’.


Tees and NE Yorkshire postpones PAS project

Norfolk and Norwich shelves iSoft PAS

Yorkshire trust procures for new clinical system