£13m contract awarded for critical care information system for Wales

Ascom has secured a major 7 year deal worth £13 million to develop and manage a national critical care information system for Wales.

Following a national procurement by NHS Wales Informatics Service (NWIS), Ascom has been selected to develop and deliver a digital system to enable intensive care staff across Wales’ 14 standard adult critical care units to manage electronically all aspects of care.

The majority of units currently use a paper based process, with just three using electronic systems. Ascom said it is the biggest-ever single contract for the company, which operates in 18 countries.

The company is working with NHS Wales to standardise the care pathways, understand individual configurations and integrate with other system suppliers.

The contract was announced after a detailed round of stakeholder events by the Welsh Critical Care & Trauma Network to establish the scope of the system, which needed to interface with key elements of the NHS Wales framework for information systems. It also had to integrate with other key national software, including the country’s hospital electronic prescribing and medication administration system, which is being developed in parallel.

Ascom will begin rolling out the technology to The Grange University Hospital in Newport from early next year, followed by a phased rollout to other units until 2023.

Vaughan Gething, Minister for Health and Social Services said: “Our Welsh intensive care services deliver extraordinary services helping people when they are critically ill.  The introduction of this innovative technology will enhance the care patients receive and allow doctors and nurses to spend as much time as possible caring for patients. The use of technology to deliver a sustainable NHS is a key part of A Healthier Wales, our long-term strategy for health and social care in Wales.”

Paul Lawrence, managing director, Ascom UK   said: “We are absolutely delighted to secure this important contract and look forward to working closely with NWIS to ensure a smooth rollout. Our partnership will move critical care units away from paper and on to a system that will make life easier for clinicians, freeing up thinking time in a highly pressurised environment, and provide a single source of truth for patient information.  This will not only help improve patient care at the bedside, but benefit audit and research, to refine best practice and critical care structures in the future.”