A programme to procure an electronic patient record system for southern ambulance trusts is on hold due to a legal challenge from one of the bidders involved.

Four southern ambulance trusts issued a tender for IT services worth £19m in January this year.

The ambulance project is part of the Southern Local Clinical Systems programme for the 60% of providers in the South that otherwise got nothing from NPfIT.

The business case for the trusts – now three following a merger – was approved by the Department of Health and Treasury to attract central funding.

However, a DH spokesperson told EHI the procurement is on hold pending the outcome of a legal challenge from one of the bidders involved in the procurement.

The three trusts are the; South Western Ambulance Service; South Central Ambulance Service; and South East Coast Ambulance Service.

They have been supported through the procurement process by the Health and Social Care Information Centre.

The original tender notice said the trusts were looking for a single supplier to deliver a fully managed service to electronically capture, exchange and report on patient information.

The contract is worth £19 over four years with the possibility to extend this for up to two years.

The ambulance project was the second of four in the SLCS programme to gain approval for central funding.

The first contracts have already been signed between trusts and TPP as part of a £32m community and child health procurement.

More than £80 of central funding will also be available for six groups of 23 acute trusts looking to invest in IT.

The fourth programme, integration, has yet to proceed through the central approvals process.