NHS Scotland and NHS Northern Ireland have asked IT suppliers to bid for a common estate asset management system, after their array of systems had become too complicated and hindered effective comparison between properties.

The two health bodies decided to procure the system jointly as they face a similar need to simplify their systems, and improve the “effectiveness and efficiency of assets”. But they expect to sign individual contracts, with up to three suppliers.

Estate asset management systems are typically used to monitor the condition of property and land, alert when repairs are likely to be needed, and track equipment and maintenance.

John Slater, procurement manager at NHS Scotland, told CIO sister title Computerworld UK it was important the authorities simplified their asset management processes. “We want to improve the overall management of our property portfolio,” he said.

The key to this was “improving the data collection and analysis in a manner which allows better comparison”, he explained.

The authorities are hoping to buy an off-the-shelf system to be customised to their needs. Suppliers have until 27 August to submit requests to participate, and it is expected that work will start shortly afterwards, due to be finished “early next year”. The budget has not yet been announced.

NHS Scotland and NHS Northern Ireland are not part of the £12.7 billion National Programme for IT, which covers only England. They have their own, smaller electronic health initiatives, and are both starting their own work on an electronic health record.

Related stories:

NHS is the '800lb gorilla' in negotiationsNHS is the '800lb gorilla' in negotiations