HSCIC ‘chipping away’ at NME exit plans

  • 19 January 2015
HSCIC ‘chipping away’ at NME exit plans
The North

Progress is being made in managing the transition away from local service provider contracts in the North, Midlands and East of England, the Health and Social Care Information Centre has said.

Mary Barber, the CSC LSP programme director at the HSCIC, told EHI the organisation has been “chipping away” at the issue since her presentation at EHI Live 2014.

Barber told the show in November that the end of the LSP contracts – placed by the National Programme for IT in the NHS a decade ago – would unleash huge a demand for systems that suppliers might struggle to meet.

In an update for EHI, Barber said the number of organisations that have still to draw up a transition plan has decreased from 82 out of 266 to 60. Those organisations are responsible for 150 of the 700 systems covered by the LSP contract, which expires on 7 July 2016.

“I’m comfortable that we’re chipping away and reducing the challenge, so we’re getting to the point where organisations know what they’re doing, or they have a direction of travel,” she said.

Barber said the HSCIC has been working with NHS Shared Business Services, which is putting together a procurement framework to support the change that is due to launch soon.

It also worked with trusts on a trial of the government’s cloud-based services G-Cloud framework before Christmas.

Barber said there had been “relatively positive results” from the trial, with the trusts involved indicating that it could be a viable procurement option in some circumstances.

CSC became the local service provider for the whole of the North, Midlands and East after Accenture pulled out of the national programme in 2006.

The company was contracted to provide the Lorenzo electronic patient record system to healthcare communities across the regions, but struggled to develop and deploy the product.

However, it did deploy a large number of ‘interim’ systems to trusts; mainly the older iSoft iPM and iCM administration and clinical suites, and related systems, such as the Ormis theatre system.

Research by EHI Intelligence, EHI’s research arm, has confirmed that this is likely to leave many of the trusts affected by the contract end looking for new patient administration, A&E, maternity, and theatre systems, or more modern electronic patient records.

At EHI Live 2014, Barber said there were ten to 12 suppliers that might be able to meet their needs: but warned that if all the organisations needing systems went out to market at the same time, suppliers would be able to "cherry pick" their customers.

The HSCIC will run a number of workshops in the coming months to help inform organisations about their procurement options and other obligations.

“I think the majority of people understand [the risk],” Barber said. “There are always one or two – but the majority know that they need to get on with this because they’ve recognised that it is a problem.”

The HSCIC is also working on helping organisations to understand their data repatriation requirements and to make sure that they have a processes in place to manage that.

“The devil’s in the detail – we’re not getting a lot of kickback to say that they can’t do it, but we want to help people understand the processes.”

Barber said there has been no formal discussion of contingency plans if organisations find themselves unable to meet the July 2016 deadline.

“We may have some contingencies, but we wouldn’t use them until we really need it – at the moment, we’d rather see what the art of the possible is.”

However, Karl Grundy, head of EHI Intelligence, said its research indicated that only 8% of acute trusts in the NME have definite system procurement plans in place; and he believed organisations without plans might struggle to meet the July 2016 deadline.

He said data repatriation is also likely to be an issue, with some organisations not capable of hosting the data themselves.

“The general view is that the market is a good five steps behind where they need to be – I think there’s a big issue waiting to happen here.”

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