Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust has signed two contracts with Cerner worth £16.5m for the remote hosting of its Millennium electronic patient record, a helpdesk and support for the system.
Both contracts were awarded without a procurement process because they could only be supplied by Cerner and due to “extreme urgency brought about by events unforeseeable,” an award notice says.
The contracts come as a surprise because the trust signed a hosting contract with CSC covering Cerner Millennium in early 2010.
Last summer, it also signed a separate, seven-year outsourcing deal with CSC, including helpdesk support, worth up to £50m.
A contract award notice issued last month says a remote hosting service worth £10m will be supplied by Cerner.
A further notice says Cerner will also provide application and operational management services at a cost of £6.5m.
EHealth Insider reported in March that delays to the go-live of the electronic patient record at the trust were related to problems with the CSC hosting contract.
Royal Berkshire and CSC denied this was the case, with CSC saying the delay was “in no way” related to its contract with the trust.
Following the latest awards, CSC told eHealth insider that its hosting contract with Royal Berkshire has not been cancelled and referred all further comment to the trust. The trust declined to comment.
The helpdesk contract says the trust became aware in March 2012 that the “original proposed solution would not be available as originally anticipated or in the required time lines to support go-live of the Millennium system when the original provider confirmed to the trust it would not be providing such services.”
“The consequences of not performing this service will result in a severe impact on patient care and critical hospital services,” the notice says.
“The time limits under the procurement regulations are insufficient to procure the necessary services in time for the go-live which cannot be delayed due to the impact on clinical services and trust operations.”
The trust went live with the EPR on 17 June. The £6.5m contract covers a 24/7 second-line service desk as well as “Millennium change control and management.”
This includes unlimited change requests relating to Millennium applications, Millennium baseline code upgrades, and content package updates.
Under the £10m hosting contract, Cerner will install and maintain hardware to support the Millennium software and hosting capabilities will include hosting space, power, cooling and dedicated lines between the Cerner hosting centre and the trust.
The notice says Cerner is the only organisation with detailed and deep technical knowledge of the EPR and its technology requirements and is therefore the only possible provider of the hosting service.
“The Cerner solution provides the trust with a single point of contact to deal with technical issues without the risk and latency of ascertaining whether the issue is hardware, third party software or application related,” it says.
The helpdesk contract is divided into an application management service worth £6m that is expected to span ten years, while the operational management services will cost £500,000 and last no more than a year.
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