UK Healthcare IT software specialist Ascribe Group Plc has acquired WCI Consulting Ltd’s healthcare division.

The purchase of the consultancy will bolster Ascribe’s implementation capabilities, enabling it to offer NHS trusts its range of specialist clinical software systems, together with associated implementation and business change consultancy.

Stephen Critchlow, executive chairman of Ascribe, said the deal would enable Ascribe to offer NHS customers a more complete service, covering services such as integration and business process re-engineering.

“We will now be able to offer consultancy and integration services to our customers further enabling us to improve information provided at the point of care," he said. "This will extend the offering to our customers as they implement systems locally.

“We’re a business leader in vertical markets such as hospital pharmacy and mental health, where our customers have often been departmental heads. But we are now finding that with local procurements people want more total solutions from us.”

He added: “We are moving to trust-based procurements rather than departmental-based.”

Critchlow said that following the deal Ascribe will focus on working with trusts at a local level to provide them with integrated solutions, including their implementation. “We are plugging a gap in our product delivery so we can deliver more efficently.”

WCI Healthcare specialises in consultancy and project implementation, particularly providing integration and consultancy expertise for larger enterprise wide solutions. As a result of the deal, about 30 WCI Healthcare staff will join Ascribe, together with about a dozen associates.

The deal, will see Ascribe pay an initial £650,000, with a possible further £300,000 earn out based on performance. WCI Healthcare has a turnover of approximately £3.5m.

The deal is the ninth acquisition by Ascribe since it floated on the alternative investment market in December 2004. Following the deal Ascribe’s turnover will be in excess of £20m

The WCI team specialise in the application of the lean methodology to the healthcare sector, WCI Healthcare is currently working with a broad number of health organisations including local NHS Trusts, BT and Connecting for Health.

Critchlow told EHI that the Ascribe contracts with BT and Connecting for Health were “current contracts”.

Ascribe provides solutions to health organisations and clinical professionals in areas including: emergency and minor injuries units, mental health and social care units. The company also provides patient administration systems, hospital and retail pharmacies, and GP surgeries.