Five trusts in the South West of England have awarded a picture archiving and communications system contract to Insignia Medical Systems.
Andy Blofield, director of the Plymouth ICT Shared Service, and senior responsible officer for the consortium, said the move was "good news" for the trusts involved.
It also suggests that the market is opening up again, after being dominated by the contracts placed by the National Programme for IT in the NHS for a decade.
"Because of the impact of the NPfIT PACS contracts, suppliers such as Insignia have effectively been frozen out of the NHS for the past six years or so, and have focused on the private sector and other accessible markets," Blofield said.
Insignia is based in Basingstoke and has three big multi-site contracts with the NHS; with the Mater Hospital in Belfast, Hywel Dda Local Health Board in Wales, and Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.
Its website indicates that it has also developed a niche in providing ‘disaster recovery PACS’ to trusts, which allow images to be viewed via a web-browser.
It also provides other specialist systems, for example for breast screening, and PACs to private hospitals run by Alliance Medical UK and the BMI Healthcare group.
A spokesperson for the South West Peninsula PACS Replacement Consortium said Insignia was chosen from a shortlist of nine, which was whittled down to two prime suppliers in April.
“As a result of this approach, the consortium was able to develop an understanding of both potential suppliers’ products and approaches.
“[The consortium was] in the fortunate position of choosing between two excellent systems, both offering significant clinical benefits and substantial savings to the NHS,” a statement said.
When the tender was released last October, eight trusts were part of the group, but Weston Area Health Trust withdrew early in the process.
Blofield said another two trusts -Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust and Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust – did not choose to go with Insignia.
He said they “considered the other shortlisted system to have a greater clinical fit within their respective organisations” but could not comment further, because of their on-going procurements.
The remaining trusts in the collaboration are: Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust and Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust.
All of these organisations are currently running PACs from GE Healthcare under contracts set up through NPfIT.
The original tender said the estimated value of the agreement was £20-£30m and would cover a period of five years.
The new contract provides an initial seven-year commitment, with extension options for up to ten years. It will come into effect from July 2013.
Blofield said the procurement process required a significant commitment from clinical and non-clinical staff across all the trusts.
There was also support from the Peninsula Purchasing and Supply Alliance and significant input from PACS system suppliers.
Insignia managing director Richard Dormer said; “we are very excited to have won this contract and are delighted that we will be working with the Peninsula Consortium over the coming years”.
© 2012 EHealth Media.
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