Healthcare software vendor, Ascribe, says the Additional Supply Capability and Capacity (ASCC) framework catalogue, designed to expand the range of healthcare IT suppliers to England’s NHS has become a ‘symbol’ of the return to local procurement of IT.

A bullish assessment of the Bolton-based company’s prospects accompanied financial results showing annual sales up 55%, rising from £9.9m in 2006 to £15.3m in the year ending June 2007.

Executive chairman, Stephen Critchlow, who has been a long-standing sceptic about the National Programme for IT (NPfIT), told E-Health Insider: “We’re very bullish about the move to local level. The pipeline of customers wanting to buy our software has risen significantly.”

Ascribe has become well known for its medicines management software but has expanded by acquisition in recent years to cover many of the other areas of healthcare IT. Last year, the company said it was going for a period of consolidation to create an integrated platform for its portfolio of products.

Critchlow said he was ‘very encouraged’ by the work done in this direction. “We are aiming to find a [health] community that will take the whole solution from us,” he said.

Analysts, Cenkos, commented: “Management have invested heavily in an integrated platform and government seems committed to devolving procurement decisions to local level.”

Ascribe is on the longlist issued recently for the ASCC framework catalogue by Connecting for Health. Critchlow said: “Time will tell whether it becomes an answer.”

He sees prefers to see the catalogue more as a symbol, giving a signal that trusts can procure locally. 

“We see a massive opportunity from people being told they can buy locally,” he added.

Cenkos raises questions about the timing of increases in local procurement saying it remains unclear when this will happen. However, the analysts conclude: “We are confident there will be an increase in order driven by the backlog in demand created by the failure of NPfIT and the move to local procurement.”