Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has gone out to tender for a new patient administration system, together with some elements of an electronic patient record.

The move comes four and a half years after the trust last tendered for an interim PAS to fill the gap left by NPfIT delivery delays, only to have a later rethink.

Northumberland, which is geographically one of the largest in England, has placed a procurement notice in the Official Journal of the European Union and says it is looking for a supplier to support the trust’s ten year investment plan.

In April, Northumbria became one of 26 trusts across the country to benefit from an extension to the centrally funded McKesson contract, which saw a new deal signed with Connecting for Health that will ensure its ageing McKesson PAS is supported until 2014.

The deal signalled a possible delay or possible break-up of the National Programme for IT where many trusts in the North, Midlands and East would have been due to take iSoft’s Lorenzo during this time.

Northumbria’s tender specifies that it is looking to choose from a minimum of five capable suppliers, able to provide the PAS from 2012 onwards.

The trust’s Memorandum of Information and Outline Specification details that the it requires an A&E module, bed management, maternity reporting, case note tracking and be 18 weeks referral to treatment and choose and book compliant to be provided by the supplier.

It also says that the PAS must integrate with its Rhapsody integration engine, supplied by Orion Health, and link to legacy clinical systems and that “the trust’s IM&T strategy relies on procuring a modern and flexible solution, which will underpin the clinical single view system.”

The contract will also include the provision for implementation services, data migration training and support and maintenance.

The move comes four years and a half years after Northumberland first placed an OJEU notice for an interim PAS system, after growing disillusioned with the delays to the delivery of Lorenzo through the NHS National Programme for IT.

“We are placing an advert due to the revised timetable for the national programme for IT," the trust told EHI in March 2006. NHS board papers described the PAS then on offer from local service provider Accenture, as “relatively basic”, noting “it has not been considered suitable for use in most acute trusts”.

The trust was subsequently persuaded to re-think its independent approach in return for the promise of being a priority site for Lorenzo delivery. Four years later, and now a Foundation Trust, Northumberland has resumed its independent strategy.

A spokesperson for the trust today told E-Health Insider: “The trust’s policy is not to comment on matters relating to a formal procurement process whilst that process is under way. We expect to award a contract during the final quarter of this financial year".

“As you would expect this is significant investment and is a major part of our IM&T strategy which has the approval of the board of directors and will put us in strong position for moving forward on the rest of the IM&T strategy.”