Capita has announced the acquisition of Clinical Solutions, a provider of clinical decision support and clinical content products for healthcare professionals, for £20m cash.

The purchase adds to Capita’s existing services for the NHS, which includes support services for health providers and commissioners, clinical performance management services, finance and accounting solutions and health informatics service.

Capita has made a series of acquisitions in healthcare information and services. In 2009, the firm bought CHKS, and in 2010 iSoft Business Solutions.

Paul Pindar, chief executive of Capita, said that the Clinical Solutions acquisition “complements the existing work” the company is involved with and demonstrates Capita’s commitment and investment in the health sector.

“This acquisition strengthens our ability to assist health services in driving down costs while providing quality patient care. It also gives us a data centre that already delivers a high volume and high availability service to the NHS.”

He added: “It will add important new expertise to Capita’s range of health services, enabling us to offer Clinical Solutions’ products and services to the 95% of NHS organisations Capita already has a relationship with, and other care providers."

Clinical Solutions, which made an operating profit of £6.5m on a turnover of £24.2m last year, provides the healthcare sector with patient management software, clinical content and decision support technology, which have been used to triage and manage over 70m clinical calls over the past ten years in the UK and abroad.

After a clinical governance review by the Department of Health and two subsequent pilots, Clinical Solutions’ NHS 111 content was last month awarded the DH’s “blue badge” qualification, which accredited the company’s TeleGuide 111 as a clinical content option for NHS 111.

TeleGuide 111 tracks the detail of calls from the chief complaint through to the final outcome and is fully integrated within IntefleCS 111 patient management system.

The acquisition comes in the same week as a Financial Times report that Capita is one of three large private sector government providers that has withdrawn from the NHS 111 tender process because they fear the plans are "unworkable and ill-thought through".

Andy Parker, Capita’s joint chief operating officer, is quoted as saying the government should have improved NHS Direct instead.

"There were too many commercial risks (with 111) particularly around call columes and uncertainty around transfer of call," Parker told the FT.

Clinical Solutions has around 160 staff, primarily based in Basingstoke.