Book pagesLast week NHS Connecting for Health director Richard Granger indicated a sharp change in direction. He announced plans to create a catalogue of suppliers to provide additional capacity and specialist systems to help deliver the late-running NHS IT upgrade programme.

The announcement of the new catalogue approach – which follows hard on the heels of Accenture’s replacement as a local service provider, by CSC – has come as surprise to many given CfH’s continued adherence to standardised solution approach.

Ironically, almost all of CfH’s successful new installations have been of software supplied by existing systems suppliers, often outside the programme, rather than from the as yet unproven ‘strategic’ solutions.

Asked to provide additional details on the catalogue approach a CfH spokesperson said: “We are planning to advertise for a catalogue of suppliers to provide a range of services to help deliver improved IT for the NHS. We are currently preparing the OJEU notice that will be required and following further approvals we intend to issue this in the next few weeks.”

To gauge industry reaction E-Health Insider has this week spoken to a range of specialist clinical system providers on their views of a new catalogue approach. While wanting more details the response has been overwhelmingly positive.


Nick Kalisperas, director at Intellect, said “The UK trade association for IT suppliers welcomes the move to set up a catalogue which will enable CFH to draw on extra capacity to help deliver the £6bn programme. However, the use of a catalogue would only be successful if the government collaborate with the industry. Collaboration with the IT industry, introducing sensible procurement and timeframes, is fundamental to its success.”

Siemens Medical Solutions

Jim Middleton, director of managed services and IT solutions for Siemens Medical Solutions, told E-Health Insider: "Siemens supports the overall objectives of Connecting for Health. We have always assumed any programme of such size would flex to ensure delivery and meet the changing requirements of the NHS. Siemens welcome the opportunity to potentially play an active role in helping the programme to deliver."


Simon Manley, vice president of sales for McKesson UK, explained to E-Health Insider that the company had not yet had formal notification of the catalogue but was watching the comments in the press. "Were the proposed initiatives from CfH to be announced formally and for there to be a mechanism to establish a solutions framework in support of the Trusts and CfH, then we would indeed welcome it.

"McKesson is highly supportive of the goals and objectives of CfH and the NHS National Programme for IT. We remain committed and our recent activities continue to show that we are, wherever possible, supporting our customers in transforming their delivery of healthcare services through the use of information and technology."


David Newell, director at Clinisys, which specialises in pathology, oncology and diabetic retinopathy systems, said “We would welcome a catalogue, but we’ve not yet had any communication that this is the way forward that CfH wants to go. There are gaps in the LSP offerings that expert clinical system suppliers could help fill.”


Jonathan Raife, managing director at maternity system specialist EuroKing, said: “In principle it’s a good idea. Obviously there are serious gaps in the national programme’s existing catalogue of specialist systems that should be addressed. My concern will be that the further set back the market goes, the more of a wait and see approach the list will be seen as.”


John Wiltshire, sales and marketing director of health data management specialist Stalis, said: “We’re very excited by this opportunity. We have a great deal of expertise and product to offer the NHS.”


Simon Taylor, commercial director at electronic records specialist Ethitec, said: “We are delighted to find Granger announcing a new catalogue for addition suppliers. We were originally sponsored by CfH to allow our existing systems to be advertised across the programme, but they decided to shelve that plan in favour of the LSP concept we have now. It has always seemed too large a project to us to expect large systems to be ready for across the NHS quickly, and we believe that trusts will enjoy the benefits of more suppliers for specialist systems, as we anticipated when CfH originally approached us six years ago.”

Tomcat Systems

John Neesom, sales and marketing executive at cardiology software specialists Tomcat Systems, said “We have been very keen to get involved with this catalogue and intend to get in contact with CfH to look into this. The specialist system market is very important, and as specialist cardiology system providers we feel that this would be a good market area for us to grow in. Existing PAS systems are unable to offer what our cardiology systems do, and we hope that trusts will look to us to help them with these needs.”

Capula Healthcare

Marcus Mellor, Business Director at patient administration software supplier Capula Healthcare, commented: “Capula is already offer flexible and high specification solutions to NHS clients. In addition to PAS, these include: clinical, theatre, e-discharge and A&E modules which can be fully integrated solutions across their sites. These modules offer additional functionality and the system is capable of being deployed when required as a fully functional Web application.”


David Hannam, sales director at electronic care record specialists Strand Technology, said “This is a very positive idea. We have already been in contact with CfH to get in the catalogue. We have had a response back from them and are waiting for an announcement from CfH in a few weeks time detailing how to submit products to the catalogue. It is a fantastic idea, especially as it is geared towards getting more specialist systems available in the NHS.”