Another group of trusts has formed a collaboration to jointly tender for picture archiving and communication systems when the contracts established under the National Programme for IT in the NHS come to an end.

The second collaboration to be formed in the South of England involves Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust, East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust – including the West Kent and East Sussex primary care trusts – and Medway NHS Foundation Trust.

All of these organisations received GE Healthcare systems under the local service provider contract for the South that was set up as part of NPfIT, and which is due to end in 2013.

Collaboration with other local trusts is proving to be a popular route for trusts that have decided to tender for new PACS/RIS systems. Other collaborations have been formed in the South, Manchester, and the North West.

The Kent collaboration has lodged a tender with the Official Journal of the European Union. It says the four acute trusts involved have established a PAS/RIS replacement programme, with advice from the Kent health informatics service.

The tender says the collaboration wants systems that can be integrated across the four trusts, for which £50m has been budgeted.

It is looking for potential suppliers to bid for either an entire managed service of PACS, RIS and an imaging archive, or any of these three elements under separate lots.

Last month,  NHS Connecting for Health announced it was working on setting up a procurement framework to help guide trusts in moving from the centrally procured frameworks, to locally agreed ones.

NHS Supply Chain is also working on a framework contract. However, a national framework would not be available to trusts until the end of this year – leaving them with a tight timeframe for establishing new contracts and systems.