Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has signed two IT contracts to “revolutionise care across Cumbria.”

The trust has signed with Bull IT to improve its IT infrastructure and with Servelec Healthcare to implement its RiO electronic patient record.

The two contracts together are worth £10m, with £5.2m of this coming from NHS England’s ‘Safer Hospitals, Safer Wards: Technology Fund’.

Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is the largest provider of NHS services in Cumbria. It employs 4,000 staff from 20 sites, and provides community, mental health, and child health services to a population of around 500,000 people.

Chief executive Claire Molloy said: “Cumbria’s geography, combined with limited wi-fi connectivity and transport links, means we face a unique set of challenges when it comes to delivering healthcare, both in hospitals and in patients’ homes.

“Improved IT across the county will give trust staff the ability to spend less time travelling to bases and stations, and more time with patients.”

In a statement, the trust said its infrastructure development had been “fragmented and sporadic” and was determined to use the new contract to “review the IT needs of the trust as a whole entity and provide a first class service to clinical staff.”

The deal for RiO will enable staff to move away from paper to electronic working, using “modern devices and applications.”

The project will also form the foundation for the trust to take a full part in the eHealth Cumbria programme to improve and join up healthcare systems across the region, which is one of NHS England's 'integrated digital care record exemplars'.

The programme is based around infrastructure improvements, sharing information through the Healthcare Gateway Medical Interoperability Gateway, and the implementation of a resource matching and e-referral (or "air traffic control") system from Strata Health.

This is designed to integrate with the electronic patient record systems being installed or procured for providers, and to enable referrals to be made digitally to the most appropriate service.

In total, Cumbria Patnership NHS Foundation Trust received £5.7m to take its part in the Cumbria-wide programme, with another £220,000 allocated to implementing the Strata system and a further £220,000 to implementing the MIG.