Funding for the integration project that was part of the Southern Local Clinical Systems programme has been scrapped and trusts must instead apply via the Technology Fund.

The ‘integration’ project was the last of four projects that made up the southern programme, which also includes ‘community and child health’, ‘acute’ and ‘ambulance’.

The programme is for providers in the South that otherwise got nothing from the National Programme for IT. The three other projects have had business cases approved for central funding totaling £130m.

Documents released to EHI by the National Audit Office under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that in May 2011, the total forecast, but uncommitted spend on local clinical systems for the south was £470m in 2004-2005 prices. Nearly £60m was expected in local deployment costs.

By 2012 this had reduced to £230m and £60m in local costs.

The total central government spend now appears to be around £130m, with at least £100m committed by the trusts involved.

When asked what happened to the integration project, NHS England said southern trusts can apply to fund their integration work via the second round of the Technology Fund, recently announced by health secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Beverley Bryant, director of strategic systems and technology at NHS England, said: “the £250m extension to the ‘Safer Hospital, Safer Wards’ Technology Fund is available to NHS Trusts to support the widespread adoption of modern, safe electronic record-keeping, replacing outdated paper based systems for patient notes and prescriptions with integrated digital care records.

“The trusts in the south will be able to fund their integration work via this route.”

Former lead for the integration project Tad Matus told EHI in October last year that it would involve procuring a number of portals.

The plan was to break the South up into smaller “integration communities” where the clinical pathways meant organisations needed to work together.

“This is in some ways a more important candidate for central funding than the single organisation solutions. With those it’s clear who would fund it if not centrally, but here it’s much messier because the costs may well fall to a different organisation to the benefits,” Matus said at the time.

The government has signed off a £32m business case for the delivery of TPP’s SystmOne to nine child and community health providers in the south. Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trustrecently became the first to go-live with the system.

It has also committed more than £80m in central funding for the South Acute programme, which involves six groups of trusts buying a variety of IT systems, the first of which has already gone out to tender.

The preferred supplier for a £19m contract to supply systems to three southern ambulance trusts is Swedish company Ortivus.