A preferred supplier has been picked for the multi-million pound IT infrastructure contract at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The global digital exemplar (GDE) trust invited bids for a £140 million IT infrastructure service contract in October last year, just three years after signing a similar sized contract with Hewlett Packard.

Cambridge’s chief information officer, Zafar Chaudry, told Digital Health News that due dilligence on the preferred supplier is currently being undertaken, with the aim of presenting details at September’s board meeting.

“We’re in the last, probably two months of making a decision, of whether we are staying or whether we are going to a different supplier because our needs have changed.”

A trust spokesman said the preferred supplier could not be named until the end of September.

The tender notice includes a full range of IT infrastructure services including a data centre, desktop solutions, active directory, networks, and electronic patient record (EPR) hosting and support.

Chaudry explained the motivations behind going to the market.

“We’ve been in a 10 year contract and we’re four and a half years into a 10 year contract”, he said.

“Because we put in Epic, because we’ve consolidated other legacy systems, archived them, reduced them, protected them, we’ve also realised that our users’ requirements have also changed.”

Chaudry said there were seven positive bids put forward.

The new contract would run for 10 years, with a break clause after seven years and the contract reassessed on a yearly basis thereafter.

The tender is broken into sections covering network and security service, worth £40 million, and another £100 million contract for broader IT infrastructure services.

Hewlett Packard was chosen in 2013 to provide the IT infrastructure for the trust’s ambitious £200 million eHospital programme, which included deploying the Epic EPR in the UK for the first time.

At the end of last year, repeated outages at the trust had led a “network resilience” review and weekly meeting with senior Hewlett Packard executives.

At the time, the trust told Digital Health News there had been three network outages this year, but this was not linked to the decision to tender “in any way” and Hewlett Packard continued to meet its contractual obligations.

Chaudry said these issues had been resolved since the start of 2017 and were “purely related to some network upgrades”.

“They upgraded all the firmware that needed to happen and we have been stable since.”

Cambridge is one of the largest trusts in the UK, and consists of Addenbrooke’s Hospital and the Rosie.