Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is going out to tender for a new patient administration system and an electronic patient record system that will be built up over five years.

Twenty-five suppliers have already shown an interest in the project and will be attending a briefing at the trust this Thursday.

The tender is split into three parts. The first is a new PAS, which will be deployed around October 2013 and has an indicative budget of £2m.

“The new PAS must also provide bed management, outpatient self-service, business intelligence and data warehousing functionality,” the prior information notice says.

The second part is ‘Clinical 5’ functionality, which includes order communications, letters with clinical coding, resource scheduling, and e-prescribing.

The final phase will see the implementation of other clinical modules such as A&E, theatres, radiology and maternity.

Basildon and Thurrock’s director of strategic development, Mark Magrath, said the trust’s current PAS, which is provided by McKesson, would not be supported beyond March 2014. As a result, the trust has “no choice” but to replace it.

“Rather than just replace the PAS in isolation, we have chosen to procure an EPR. The reason for that is that selecting a PAS on its own constrains the choice available for an EPR thereafter,” he told eHealth Insider.

Magrath said he expected a contract to be signed in March 2013 and 80% of clinical systems to be deployed within five years. The clinical modules will be added on a case by case basis, subject to individual business cases being accepted by the board.

Only the funding for the PAS has board approval. However, the general approach of adding clinical functionality over time has also been approved.

The trust is holding a briefing for interested suppliers on Thursday where it will be discussing budgets. It has 25 suppliers confirmed as attending.

“We see that as an opportunity to explain in more detail to the supplier community exactly what we are doing and what our expectations are to make sure we get good responses along the lines of expectation,” Magrath said.

“It may avoid some suppliers wasting their time because those without capacity or capability to deliver a full EPR, we wouldn’t want responding.”

Magrath said the trust was conducting the procurement via competitive dialogue because it could not yet specify the requirements of the EPR in detail and wanted to explore its options.

However, he added that the trust has already made a significant investment in an electronic medical record system for scanning case notes from Fortrus.

“We want the PAS and EPR to interact seamlessly with the case note information in the EMR and by doing that we’ll get significant patient safety enhancements,” he said.

The trust currently runs a medical records library in an offsite warehouse which costs £1m a year and will be closing as part of the scanning project.

The notice was issued on 15 March and says the trust plans to publish a contract notice in the Official Journal of the European Union at the end of this month.