Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has ended its run with the National Programme for IT in the NHS and signed a contract directly with Cerner for its Millennium electronic patient record.

The trust was one of the first in the UK to deploy Millennium when it negotiated an initial contract with Cerner in 2003.

However, when the National Programme for IT in the NHS was launched, the contract arrangements were altered to include BT as local service provider.

That contract expired this month, and the trust has now confirmed it is extending the original contract with Cerner by seven years.

According to the contract award notice, the trust decided not to issue a formal tender to assess the option of bringing in another supplier because of its "close working arrangement" with Cerner.

“Both parties are convinced of the value of maintaining the direct relationship with Cerner as developer and service provider,” it says.

“The relationship established between the Homerton and Cerner is unique. There are few providers of NHS healthcare that have a direct relationship with the developers of a system that is so fundamental to the efficient and effective management of the business.”

The trust has also says that a contract extension will allow it to manage the “significant operational risk and uncertainty” that may have arisen as the national programme came to a close in 2015.

The trust said the relationship with Cerner enabled both parties to co-design and develop a bespoke system to meet Homerton’s needs for an electronic patient record.

“For technical reasons, and for reasons connected with the protection of exclusive rights, this service can only be provided by Cerner.”

The contract extension will be based on maintenance, support and upgrade of the existing platform to bring functionality for a patient administration system, maternity, A&E, theatres, radiology and orders, including clinical reporting.

EHealth Insider understands that despite BT’s involvement as LSP for London, the Homerton’s version of Millennium was never transfered to one of its data centres.

The current arrangement for remote hosting of the system is due to end imminently, and the trust is confident Cerner can take over its provision – meaning the system’s remote hosting, support and maintenance will all be provided “under one roof."