London trusts are exiting their national digital imaging contracts on schedule, a bulletin from the Health and Social Care Information Centre has suggested.

The capital is the last area of the country to exit the picture archiving and communications and radiology information systems contracts that were placed by the National PACS Programme in 2004.

To manage the transition, the PACS Transformation Programme, which is hosted by the HSCIC, put trusts into one of three groups: early exit; exit on expiry, and continuation of service.

Trusts in the early exit group were due to leave their contracts by the end of June this year, and the bulletin says that seven trusts duly moved onto replacement supplier contracts in June and July.

The London PACS contract officially came to an end at the same time. However, the programme has negotiated a thirteen month transition period with BT that will end in July 2015.

All trusts in London must have moved their PACS data out of the BT central store, known as MIA, by this point. Trusts in the next two waves will be able to exit their contracts and terminate their LSP services until then.

In January, Professor Erika Denton, the senior responsible owner and medical director for the National PACS Programme, told EHI that trusts needed to focus on the deadline for repatriating data.

“Any trust that has not already commenced data repatriation activity, particularly those with more than 20 terabytes of data, is advised to commence this work as a priority,” she said.

The bulletin says that to help with this work, the programme is looking to put together a ‘lessons learned’ document and model data validation sign-off process.

“As part of a ‘one year to go’ initiative from the London Programme, the team are asking all trusts to complete an ‘exit and transfer readiness review’ to make sure everyone is aware of the deadlines and timeframes for exit,” it adds. “The team will [provide] clarity and advice about the exit and transfer process.”

Trusts in the South were the first to start exiting their national PACS and RIS contracts. A number of trusts formed consortia to buy new systems, enabling new suppliers to enter the market.

Trusts in the North, North East, Yorkshire and the Humber, East of England, and East Midlands areas were offered an extension to their existing contracts, which most accepted.

However, these trusts must now decide whether to do a further deal with their existing supplier, make use of a PACS, RIS and archiving framework drawn up by NHS Supply Chain, or tender for new systems.

The bulletin says the PACS Transformation Programme is continuing to support trusts in the NEEM as they make these decisions.

Eleven trusts in these clusters have left their LSP contracts over the summer, with two starting direct contracts with Agfa and Carestream, and nine taking advantage of the deal with Accenture. A further 14 trusts in the NEEM have still to exit their contracts.