Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust has awarded a seven-year £56m infrastructure contract to CGI.

The trust has also issued a prior information notice for a clinical systems programme valued at £20m – £35m.

The new “strategic partnership” will see CGI deliver IT infrastructure services to support around 5,200 end users across 150 sites and will involve around 60 trust staff being transferred to the company.

Central and North West London’s finance director Trevor Shipman told EHI the infrastructure deal is the first step in the trust’s seven-year plan to “take a far more strategic approach to its IT”.

The organisation has grown over the last ten years from a turn-over of £128m to £430m and delivers care from Dover, to Winchester to Milton Keynes. This growth has thrown up a range of issues with regards to IT as the trust now operates on multiple systems and processes.

“We saw the need for more integrated and flexible IT and IT that will be at the forefront of the organisation,” said Shipman.

“For the infrastructure we wanted to not have a traditional NHS backroom, but one that would be able to flex if another organisation came into the trust in the future as well as keeping existing services up to date.”

The contract with CGI will support the organisation as it grows and enters a more challenging environment in terms of finances and patient demand, he added.

The first step will be to ensure the trust network is stable and supported and to transfer major existing contracts to CGI to manage. Then it will look at making improvements, specifically around mobile working for the trust’s community staff.

“Paperless is part of the agenda, but the key is how can we maximise face-to-face clinical time with patients and utilise IT to do that,” Shipman said.

The improved ICT infrastructure is expected to be in place by the end of May 2015.

Infrastructure is one of six streams the trust has identified in its seven-year plan. The others are: clinical systems; internet and intranet; informatics; user access; and an overarching transformation programme.

Central and North West London runs four instances of electronic patient record system RiO as well as the Ascribe system Jade. Moving on to common clinical systems is another key project for which a PIN has been released this week.

The notice says the trust will be looking to procure: a patient administration system; clinical documentation; order communications and results reporting; electronic prescribing and medicines administration and pharmacy.

The London trust is tendering for a new EPR independently, rather than through the framework contract set up by the ‘2015 Consortium’ that covers 30 London and South mental and community health trusts that received RiO via the National Programme for IT.

Shipman said the annual cost of the entire IT upgrade project is around £85m – £90m a year.

Paula Sussex, CGI’s senior vice president of public sector said the company will use its UK and global experience to support Central and North West London as it transforms the way IT supports its staff and enables better patient services.