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Cerner questions Epic win for Cambridge patient records

Short-listed supplier queries NHS trust over procurement process

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Patient record supplier Cerner has written to Cambridge University Hospitals foundation trust over its recent award of a major software tender to Epic, Government Computing understands.

The letter, understood to be from Cerner's European managing director Alan Fowles to the trust's interim chief executive Dr Karen Castille, questions the scoring of the rival bids; apparent changes to the procurement process while it was running; and the relative prices of the three short-listed bids from Allscripts, Cerner and Epic.

Reports have suggested that the two losing bids were around £20m, while Epic's winning bid was approximately £30m. Government Computing understands that these figures are broadly accurate.

Fowles' letter, which was also copied to outgoing trust chairman Dame Mary Archer, is believed to question the fact that a short list of three was then increased to six, with Epic one of the new additions. Cambridge is Epic's first significant UK reference site.

A Cambridge University Hospitals spokesman said, "The trust has run an open and fair OJEU competition in line with public procurement processes," said a trust spokesman. "The trust is continuing to proceed with the procurement process for eHospital."

The contract will provide both Cambridge University Hospitals and Papworth Hospital foundation trusts with software for their eHospital project, with HP having won a parallel deal for hardware. This will support the two trusts' new buildings on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, which involves the University of Cambridge and the Medical Research Council as partners and will incorporate research and education facilities. It will see a doubling of the size of the campus, which will include Cambridge's existing Addenbrooke's site, to 140 acres.

This article was originally published at Guardian Government Computing.

Guardian Government Computing is a business division of Guardian Professional, and covers the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. For updates on public sector IT, join the Government Computing Network here.

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