The seven “out of cluster” trusts in London and the South of England that signed a deal with CSC and iSoft ahead of the National Programme for IT in the NHS are seeking an alternative host for their iPM systems.

The trusts have been trying to reach an agreement with NHS Connecting for Health, CSC and iSoft to extend the deal for the past ten months. They have now put out a prior information notice that seeks an alternative provider to host their iPM PAS systems.

One of the trusts involved in the tender told E-Health Insider that the iSoft7 cannot afford to pay for the system and the hosting themselves. However, they have been told they will only be getting limited funding from CfH.

EHI’s contact said: “CfH have agreed to extend and pay for one year of our contract – to March 2012.

"From then on, it is up to the trusts to fund future years, which is why negotiations are still ongoing. But it will need to be wrapped up soon to give us time to seek alternatives, if we have to.”

A Department of Health spokesperson confirmed that negotiations were still ongoing.

They added: "No agreement has been reached in respect of a period longer than one year. Subsequent funding is for each local programme or trust to manage and any extension beyond a year is a matter for individual trusts."

The iSoft7 source said that if the suppliers cannot come up with a more suitable price then they will put out a full tender notice in the Official Journal of European Union by the end of the week.

The prior information notice, which according to trust has already received a significant amount of interest, says: “The trusts’ patient administration system iPM software is provided under a Department of Health contract and with one exception, is hosted by a central provider.

"This system hosting contract comes to an end on 31.03.2012 and the trusts wish to appoint a provider or providers, offering similar or alternative solutions for hosting or managing their PAS.”

It adds that the trusts may wish to appoint a provider who can offer them alternative solutions for hosting or managing the PAS and EPR.

These are: Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust; Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust; Guys and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust; Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust; Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust; University Hospital Lewisham NHS Trust; and Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust.

They will contract separately with the successful bidders.