The nine London trusts involved in a massive, collaborative IT tender could each decide to go with a different supplier, it has been revealed.
The trusts issued the tender at the start of February, looking for a patient administration and electronic patient record system, a clinical portal and hosting services.
All have, or look like good candidates to get, Cerner Millennium as part of the national programme.
However, NHS London regional director of provider development and London Programme for IT programme director, John Goulston, told EHI that all nine trusts could - in theory - choose a different supplier.
He said the trusts were aware of potential benefits if they could agree on one supplier, and the tender was designed to make sure that this opportunity was exploited.
“There will be nine individual contracts, but if they all choose the same supplier they will try and do it in a collaborative approach in order to maximise the economies of scale and coverage,” said Goulston.
He added that each trust would evaluate the submitted bids and take their views to an overarching review group to make a decision.
Goulston also gave some further information about the position of the trusts involved in the tender. He said they formed a consortium of London Cerner users, which had a programme board.
However, some are yet to get the system, as there are four further deployments of Millennium to go in London.
South London Healthcare NHS Trust is due to go live with the system at Queen Elizabeth and Princess Royal hospitals over the next year.
Croydon Health Services NHS Trust is due to go live in September – becoming the first trust to use Millennium in the community in the process.
Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust is due to go live in 2013 - it has only deployed the order communications module so far.
“There will be some trusts who won’t have been using Cerner Millennium for a long period of time [before signing new contracts], but that’s the position we are in,” Goulston added.
Matthew Swindells, managing director of Cerner Global Consulting, told EHI that he expected “most” trusts to stick with Millennium.
However, Goulston said that was not a foregone conclusion and it was up to trusts to encourage other suppliers to bid for the work.
Suppliers could bid independently, or a consortium of suppliers could come together with a main contractor to deliver a joint bid, he said.
The estimated value of the London tender is between £250m and £400m. Goulston explained this was based on indicative costings by the trusts, which are still going through the process of getting board approval for their business cases.
The plan is to have a new contract signed with a supplier or suppliers by spring next year, providing a two-year window before current contracts expire in October 2015.
Goulston said LPfIT would have a role in managing each trust’s exit from the current contract as nobody could cope if they all exited on the same day.
The aim is for all nine to have exited the contract by October 2015, but a small extension window is available.
This would be especially important if trusts decided not to go with Millennium, as they would need a clear plan for replacing their current system, he added.
“It takes a long time to do an IT implementation, hence the trusts have decided that this year is the starting point for procuring the contract that’s right for each organisation for beyond 2015.”
The trusts involved in the joint tender are; Barts and the London; Croydon; Imperial; Kingston Hospital; Newham University Hospital; Royal Free Hampstead; South London; St George’s Healthcare; and Whipps Cross University Hospital.
Goulston expected a similar collaborative tender to be issued for London community and mental health trusts using RiO, and for acute trusts in the South.
© 2012 EHealth Media.
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