Representatives from more than 20 Southern acute trusts in line for centrally funded IT systems will attend customer awareness events next month to see what the market has to offer.

Intellect and the NHS South are holding customer awareness events for acute trusts that did not get systems under the National Programme for IT in the NHS

Central funding is being made available from funds left over from the programme, which left 60% of Southern trusts empty handed.

They had been hoping to get systems through a procurement using the Additional Supply Capability and Capacity framework, but this collapsed late last year.

News of the meeting follows confirmation that the community and child health procurement in the South has been given Cabinet Office approval to proceed to tender. The tenders for acute and ambulance services are expected to follow swiftly.

Systems on offer include: patient administration systems, scheduling, order communications and diagnostics reporting, e-Prescribing, clinical documentation, clinical portal/desktop, maternity, A&E and theatres departmental systems and electronic document management.

An Intellect document detailing an initial market engagement meeting held in March, says supplier costs “may be funded centrally for an initial period”, with individual trusts funding the remainder of the contract and the local costs including implementation and business change.

“Recognising the difficulties with the ‘bespoke’ approach of the NPfIT, the intention is to procure products already proven in NHS acute settings and would need to meet essentially common requirements,” it says.

Chief information officer for NHS South East Coast, and lead for the child and community procurement, Tad Matus, said acute trusts were forming consortia defined by what they want to buy and these will present separate business cases for Cabinet Office approval.

Whilst only one supplier will be chosen for community and child health providers, a number of different suppliers could win the acute deals.

Matus said the aim of the acute deals is to bring organisations closer to achieving the clinical five, but the way they will move towards that will vary between trusts.

“They don’t all want a PAS, but some may want to keep their PAS and add e-prescribing, so it’s what adds value in the acute space,” he explained.

The Intellect report says funding for the systems will be subject to business case approval by the appropriate government departments with each expected to demonstrate “sufficient return on investment and economies of scale.”

Trusts will be responsible for leading the procurements such as developing business cases and will sign and hold contracts with the suppliers.

The customer events will be held on 17, 24 and 26 July in Yeovil, Newbury and Ashford respectively. More than 100 NHS staff from over 20 trusts are expected to attend.

“The events are intended to provide the NHS staff who will be involved in specifying, procuring and using the new systems with the opportunity to see what is currently available from the supplier community before the formal procurement phase of the programme starts,” the invitation letter says.