NHS National Services Scotland (NHS NSS) has told E-Health Insider that it is close to making a decision on the contract for its national patient management system (PMS), more than 16 months after the procurement process began.

NHS NSS, which procures IT software on behalf of Scotland’s 14 health boards and eight special health boards, said that it had narrowed the bidders down to three, after an advertisement was placed in the Official Journal European Union in April last year.

The winning bidder of the multi-million pound contract was expected in June 2009, but the process is still at the shortlisting stage. The shortlisted companies are: Atos Origin bidding System C’s Medway Sigma product, InterSystems bidding its own TrakCare product and Perot bidding Oasis.

Mark Salveta, the head of NHS NSS’s business advisory group, told EHI: “Our original planned date for choosing the winning bidder was the end of June 2009. However, it became obvious to us in January that we wanted to be as thorough as we could in evaluating the products before making a final decision.

“We added a number of additional tasks such as the proof of concept and a number of video and telephone conferences with existing customers of the bidders from all over the world.”

Salveta said that the e-health strategy in Scotland recognised the need to replace their older PMS as an opportunity to deliver a number of key benefits.

“The strategy became to provide a consortium of health boards that were ready to change their PMS to procure a framework contract that would allow all the health boards to contract the successful solution,” he added.

Five out of the 22 health boards came forward, including NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, NHS Grampian, NHS Borders, NHS Ayrshire and Arran and NHS Lanarkshire. Together, they cover 50% of the Scottish population.

Salevta said that the contract will be for between £30m and £120m, depending on which health boards join and which options are purchased. He said he hoped that the system would streamline and tailor the patient journey and aid the sharing of information among clinicians.

“We hope to get complete integration and a common user interface that a hospital wide patient management system with order communications and options for A&E, maternity/neonatal, clinical mental health and pharmacy including bedside prescribing (HEPMA) will give us.”

More than 140 staff from the five health boards have been involved in the procurement process. NHS NSS will call a halt to the dialogue stage at the end of August, asking the remaining bidders to submit their best and final offer by the end of September in the “hope” that a decision can be made in early October.

Salveta said: “Although we recognise the difficulties in delivering a system to be used by 40,000 staff within the first five health boards – and potentially double this number across the NHS in Scotland – we hope that the 18 months we will have spent working with the bidders while choosing the solution will have pre-empted as many of the programme difficulties as possible.”

Once a bidder has been selected, NHS NSS intends to commence roll-out at the beginning of 2010, which will take approximately two years for the first five health boards. Additional boards that decide to contract will roll-out in the following two years.


NHS National Service Scotland

Atos Origin

System C


Perot Systems