A new deal between Department of Health and CSC for the North, Midlands and East is looking increasingly likely, with a number of trusts poised to sign-up to take CSC's Lorenzo system.
At least one trust, Walsall Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, has already committed to take the electronic patient system through the NPfIT contract. Others appear to be on the verge of committing, should a new national deal be signed.
The current ‘standstill’ agreement between CSC and the DH is due to end on 31 August.
As reported by eHealth Insider last month, a new deal is expected to be based around the delivery of the Lorenzo electronic patient record system to 22 trusts in three waves.
An EHI investigation has found a number of organisations in the region that are on thebrink of committing to the system or that are still very interested in taking it.
CSC, the DH, strategic health authorities and trusts have all refused to comment on the grounds that negotiations are ongoing.
However, EHI sources and a search of board documents suggests that Walsall Healthcare has taken a careful look at Lorenzo and agreed to take the system.
A clumsily redacted paper from 27 July states that “demonstrations from Lorenzo have been received and a procurement process is being completed. An agreement of the PAS system will be reached by September 2012.”
At the same meeting, the board was informed that the system was to be taken “via the National Programme [for IT in the NHS].”
A report from earlier in the month said the trust had conducted site visits to two of the key early adopters of the system – University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust and Birmingham Women’s NHS Foundation Trust - to see Lorenzo in action, with further visits planned.
Other potential candidates include Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. In an April board paper, the trust’s finance director, David Jago, told colleagues it would be one of those to receive the EPR, saying that “although the Lorenzo system is old it is better than the Medway system currently in use.”
A trust spokesperson refused to comment on the CSC negotiations, but did confirm that the trust had extended its contract by 12 months with System C for Medway, as intended, in April.
The Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust is also engaging in discussions with its SHA and CSC in order to replace its current PAS with Lorenzo.
The trust’s chief information officer informed an NHS Suffolk board meeting in May that Ipswich was in the process of presenting a business case for the system.
Two Midlands trusts have also expressed a desire to implement Lorenzo. Speaking to EHI last month, South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust’s IT director, Duncan Robinson, said that the trust was still interested in the system, but added that it would like to form part of the second wave of five in the new deal.
One of the trust’s neighbours, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire, is also considering how it “might implement and use at least part of the Lorenzo system offered from the renewal of the national contracts, either within the trust or across the local health community.”
EHI sources have also suggested that George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust and Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust might be involved in any future deployments.
The latter trust recently commissioned a consultants’ report on its IT, which found it had significant problems to address.
CSC and the DH have been locked in negotiations about a new memorandum of understanding for the NME since the last of the four 'early adopters', Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, pulled out last spring.
These negotiations followed the latest stage of near continuous renegotiations of the CSC LSP deals.
Another mental health trust, Humber NHS Foundation Trust, has since taken its place and publically expressed enthusiasm for the system.
Last week, EHI reported that CSC’s chief executive and president, Mike Lawrie told investors that it had implemented Lorenzo at three trusts and been paid for them.
EHI understands this means the deployment verification criteria for Lorenzo had been signed off for three early adopters by the DH. Lawie described this as a significant “milestone.”
IT implementations on this scale tend to take around 18 months once a contract is signed. Therefore, any trusts involved in the latest deal are unlikely to see Lorenzo in action until at least 2014.
This means the aim of installing the system at 22 trusts by 2016 – the end date for the national programme – is challenging in the extreme.
This number may yet fall further based on ongoing negotaitions, in which CSC and DH are negotiating down respective payments and liabilities.
Lawrie has said he was confident of securing a new deal, stating that the company was “close to getting towards a tenant agreement with the NHS”, adding that it still required government approval.
© 2012 EHealth Media.
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