A ten-year £16.45m managed service contract to host Oracle financials and procurement applications for a consortium of 56 NHS bodies in England has been awarded to IB Solutions, a sister company of iSoft.

The contract is an extension of a current agreement, which has ended. The 56 NHS organisations served by IB Solutions form the North East Patches Shared System Group (NEP), a consortium of trusts and strategic health authorities mainly in the north of England.

IB Solutions, now part of IBA Health Group following the recent sale of iSoft, is providing the fully-hosted managed service from its data centre at Prestwich in Manchester.

As part of the agreement the two organisations are jointly implementing a two-year graduate recruitment programme whereby graduates will spend the first 12 months at IB Solutions and the second working directly with the NEP. IB Solutions is also providing 150 “partner days” per year for consultancy, business reviews, and training.

NEP programme director Bob Telford, said: “We are getting a cost-effective solution from a proven supplier. IB Solutions understands the healthcare business and offers great flexibility by consistently adapting to support our needs in the ever-changing NHS and NEP landscape. We enjoy a genuine partnership with IB Solutions which is now underpinned by the investment from the IBA Health Group.”

Eamonn Morris, IB Solutions’ managing director, said: “We are able to minimise the risk to the current operation while creating a future-proof technology solution. Our financial and procurement applications will provide the capability and flexibility to accommodate the new and emerging NEP landscape including the expansion of the consortium over the period of the contract.”

The North East Patches Shared System Group was established in April 2002, as part of the Modernising the NHS initiatives. The NEP aims to provide NHS organisations with an expandable, single-instance common technology platform for financial and procurement services and financial management.

The original constituents of the NEP consortium included NHS organisations from within the geographical areas (“Patches”) of the County Durham & Tees Valley, North and East Yorkshire & Northern Lincolnshire, and Northumbria, Tyne & Wear Strategic Health Authorities. Other NHS organisations have since joined including NHS organisations from north-west England and from West Yorkshire.

The NEP Shared System Group is managed on a consortium basis with Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust acting as the host organisation for the management of contractual and financial relationships.

Linda Davidson