The outline business case for the South Acute Programme has been approved by HM Treasury and the first procurement is due to launch this summer.

The programme will involve Department of Health investment in a variety of IT systems ranging from e-prescribing to clinical portals.

Six collaborative groups of NHS trusts that did not get new IT systems through NPfIT were established under the South Acute Programme in May 2012.

Each group is now preparing to run their procurements with the first expected to launch this summer.

Chair of the South Acute Programme Executive Steering Group and Frimley Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Andrew Morris described reaching the final stage of the approvals process as “tremendous news”.

“These systems are fundamental to supporting the trusts to provide better quality and safer patient care and to achieving a paperless NHS, helping the NHS to save money, improve services and to meet the challenges of an ageing population,” he added.

The six groups were formed based on their similar requirements.

Some opted to procure combinations of best of breed clinical five systems while others opted for a complete integrated clinical information system.

“In addition to the substantial investments local trusts are making, part of the funding for the procurements is being provided by the DH who will continue to provide support and assistance to each group as they prepare to launch their procurements,” a statement on the programme says.

The trusts involved previously tried to obtain systems through a procurement using the Additional Supply Capability and Capacity framework.

However, this fell through in late 2011, shortly after a similar procurement for community and child health systems collapsed.

The Southern Local Clinical Systems programme was then launched to procure IT systems across four areas; acute; child and community; ambulance; and integration.

The £32m business case for the community and child health procurement recently got final sign-off by government and will see nine organisations deploy TPP’s SystmOne.

The outline business case for an ambulance procurement has also been approved and a tender was released in January.

The integration procurement group has not had a business case go forward for approval yet.

The six groups are:

Group A –Salisbury, Poole Hospital, Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals, Portsmouth Hospitals, Royal Surrey, and University Hospitals Bristol – want an electronic prescribing and medicines administration system.

Group B – Queen Victoria Hospital, East Sussex Healthcare, Western Sussex Hospitals – want electronic document management and a clinical portal.

Group C – South Devon Healthcare, Torbay and Southern Devon Health and Care, NHS Devon, Devon Partnership NHS Trust, South Western Ambulance Service and Rowcroft Hospice – want an ePrescribing system.

Group D – East Kent Hospitals and Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells – want a PAS+, clinical portal and maternity system.

Group E – Gloucestershire Hospitals, Northern Devon Healthcare, and Yeovil District Hospital – want an integrated clinical information system.

Group F – Frimley Park Hospital, Ashford and St Peter’s Hospital, Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals – want a clinical electronic document management system.