McKesson will provide “limited support” for the Totalcare system beyond March 2014 for trusts migrating to the Medway patient administration system.

As it became clear that the National Programme for IT was running late, the Department of Health signed a deal with McKesson to support 26 trusts running Totalcare and Star.

This contract is due to expire in March 2014, and several trusts look unlikely to deploy a replacement PAS before the deadline.

Those trusts are consequently looking for alternative ways to keep their legacy PAS running until they get new systems in place.

EHI calculates that of the 26 trusts in the original support contract, 11 will definitely and 13 will probably move to the Medway PAS that McKesson bought from System C. The other 13 trusts are taking systems from other suppliers.

Only one of the trusts moving to Medway has gone live to date – Whittington Health NHS Trust. Of the other trusts, five have yet to go live with their new systems, four are involved in mergers that will see them adopt the system of their receiving trust, and four are live with alternatives.

A McKesson spokesperson told EHI it would support trusts taking the Medway PAS from system C, also owned by McKesson.

“For those trusts that have opted for the System C Medway PAS/EPR to replace Totalcare, McKesson has been willing to provide limited support for Totalcare past March 2014, to align with the go-live plan for the System C Medway PAS/EPR,” they said.

Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust is one of the trusts taking Medway, but it has delayed its go-live twice, and told EHI it looks unlikely to go live until March-April next year.

As a precaution, the trust is in discussions with McKesson about support for Totalcare beyond 31 March 2014, if it is required.

Although McKesson is being lenient with sites taking its newer system, it is less sympathetic to trusts opting for alternatives.

“The McKesson group has consistently stated since 2010 that support for Totalcare customers will end in line with their contract end date of 31 March 2014,” said the company spokesperson.

“Consequently, where trusts have contracted with suppliers outside the McKesson group to replace Totalcare they have done so in full knowledge of this position.

“That is as a result of routine customer communications and as reflected in the many competitive procurements undertaken by Totalcare sites, in which McKesson’s subsidiary System C has participated.”

Barnsley Hospital NHS Trust is another total care site who will need to run its old PAS beyond March 2014. However, unlike Colchester, the trust has not gone for another McKesson system.

Barnsley is on track to take the Lorenzo electronic patient record system from CSC, but has yet to gain approval of its final business case from the CSC LSP Programme Board, and consequently it does not think it will implement the system before summer next year.

A spokesperson from the trust, told EHI that it was putting its own plans in place to support the system beyond the end of March 2014.

“Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is planning to deploy a first phase EPR, in the summer of 2014,” said the trust spokesperson.

“McKesson Totalcare support will end in March 2014. The trust is putting in place local arrangements to support the PAS system for the period from April 2014 until deployment of Lorenzo.”