Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has awarded a contract to Ascribe for its patient administration and A&E systems.

The trust runs the legacy Totalcare PAS from McKesson, for which a support contract agreed between the company and the Department of Health in the NPfIT era expires in March next year.

Doncaster and Bassetlaw’s director of ICT Steve Parsons told EHI that he is excited about implementing Ascribe’s CaMIS PAS and Symphony A&E system, but the trust will not manage to go-live before the McKesson contract expires.

“We have a timetable at the moment which takes us into May-June next year, so there will be a couple of months where we will be running the existing PAS ourselves,” explained Parsons.

“Obviously there’s a risk, but it’s a manageable risk. We have a fundamental knowledge of the system. We believe it’s achievable.”

The trust is focusing on implementing Symphony before grappling with the PAS and has already begun deployment work.

“They will run as separate projects. We plan to install the hardware before Christmas and the plan will be to go-live with the A&E system by the end of the financial year,” said Parsons.

“Much of the work that’s done for A&E will be the same interfaces and hardware that are used for the PAS, so the core of the system will be installed already."

The new systems form part of the trust’s ‘iHospital Programme’ – working towards a full electronic patient record system and a paper-lite hospital environment.

Parsons said that while the trust is preparing to support its own PAS from April, the fact that other trusts covered by the support contract are facing similar issues means the Health and Social Care Information Centre could intervene. 

“The HSCIC are talking about that with a number of trusts around the UK. They are looking to form some talks centrally with McKesson as all of the trusts are coming to an end of the contracts,” he said.

EHI reported earlier this month that McKesson has already agreed to provide limited support to the trusts taking its Medway PAS as a replacement system, but will not extend the same support to trusts making other choices.

Doncaster and Bassetlaw went out to tender for a replacement PAS in 2011, but cancelled the procurement few months later, saying it had failed to generate sufficient competition to allow the process to continue.

In April 2012, it went out to tender again and after what Parsons described as a “very rigorous process,” it chose Ascribe.

“We’re lucky as the Ascribe PAS is well used; it’s not like we’re jumping into a brand new PAS nobody has used before,” he said.

“Big system changes like replacing a PAS don’t come around very often. It will be a much more modern system which brings the opportunity to bring in enterprise scheduling.

“We get this completeness of patient journeys and that can bring a lot of efficiencies to the flow of patients that come to the hospital.”