The South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust has pulled out of a centrally funded project to provide IT systems for southern ambulance trusts.

EHI reported this month that Swedish company Ortivus is the preferred bidder for the £19m contract, covering three trusts.

However, the Department of Health told EHI the contract is now worth up to £14m over four years following the withdrawal of one of the trusts.

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 the National Programme for IT.

A South East Coast Ambulance Service spokesperson said the trust remains committed to introducing IT which supports the delivery of electronic patient clinical records.

“However, we are exploring options for devices which will be able to provide more than EPCRs to our crews,” the spokesperson said.

“We want to maximise the use of any technology we introduce within the trust so it can benefit a number of tasks and cater for a variety of job roles. We are currently reviewing the options available to us which include partnership working and access to other central sources of potential funding.”

An Ortivus press release translated from Swedish says it was chosen by the NHS as the IT supplier for around 1800 ambulances in the south of England.

The procurement was on hold due to a legal challenge, but contract negotiations have been ongoing since the end of July.

South East Coast has since decided to withdraw from the process, but this has not impacted the process with the two other trusts, or the choice of Ortivus as a supplier.

“It is obviously disappointing that South East Coast Ambulance Service has chosen to pull out, but at the same time we have a good dialogue in the contract negotiations with the two remaining trusts,” said Ortivus chief executive Carl Ekvall.

The two remaining trusts are the South Western Ambulance Service and South Central Ambulance Service.