NHS Supply Chain has launched a procurement to create a single national framework for picture archiving and communication systems and radiology information systems.
The four-year framework agreement will be worth between £171m and £363m according to a tender notice in the Official Journal of the European Union.
Once the process is complete, trusts will be able to procure new PACS and RIS solutions when the current local service provider contract agreements drawn up by the National Programme for IT in the NHS expire over the next three years.
Professor Erika Denton, national clinical director for imaging, said: “It will be beneficial to have a single national framework for the procurement of PACS and RIS solutions.
“Following discussions between the Department of Health and NHS Supply Chain, it has been agreed that NHS Supply Chain will develop and implement the new national framework.
“This will provide further choice to trusts as the clock counts down to the end of the local service provider contracts for PACS and related services and as they consider their future service options.”
The NPfIT PACS contracts come to an end in 2013 across most of the country and 2015 in London. Some trusts have already gone out to tender for new systems, with many working in local consortia.
But both the DH and NHS Supply Chain had indicated they were working on framework contracts for all trusts in England.
NHS Supply Chain has now launched a framework in conjunction with the DH, Royal College of Radiologists Imaging Informatics Special Interest Group, NHS Connecting for Health and the National Imaging Clinical Advisory Group.
The adoption of PACS and RIS was one of the big success stories of NPfIT, and it is estimated that more than 2m patients benefit from the technology each month. However, there have been criticisms of the price paid for systems and digital imaging storate, and the lack of interoperability between systems.
The tender process involves eight lots, with the additional lots for X-ray workstations, DICOM vender neutral storage solutions, DICOM data migration, off-site storage, computed radiography readers and hosted transcription solutions.
David Burns, senior buyer for NHS Supply Chain, told EHI that the results of the pre-qualification questionnaire should be released in the coming days, with the invitation to tender following “very quickly”.
The invitations will then be evaluated and the successful suppliers should be on a framework that trusts can access in the next eight weeks.
Burns said: “We are all in support of one another and recognise the importance of creating an efficient and effective procurement solution for PACS and RIS replacements when existing contracts expire.”
© 2012 EHealth Media.
Register: To add a comment you must be registered.