Capita has announced that it has acquired healthcare software company Clinical Solutions for £20 million.

Clinical Solutions provides patient management software and clinical content and decision support technology, which aims to reduce the cost of emergency care by directing non-urgent patients to local health support.

Paul Pindar, chief executive of Capita, said: "This acquisition strengthens our ability to assist health services in driving down costs while providing quality patient care.

"It also gives us a data centre that already delivers a high volume and high availability services to the NHS."

Clinical Solutions employs around 160 people, mainly based in Basingstoke.

John O'Brien, analyst at TechMarketView, said that the acquisition by the larger company will help Clinical Solutions win contracts that were previously out of its reach.

"Clinical Solutions was dealt a blow in April when BT and Capgemini were awarded contracts for the NHS 24 health advice services, similar to NHS Direct in England, worth £100 million in total over 10 years. Clinical Solutions has been providing the core telephone triage and decision support software for NHS 24 since the service was launched in 2002.

"As an SME, this size of contract would have been out of reach for Clinical Solutions on its own. But with Capita's broader BPS (Business Process Services) capabilities now on tap, we think it will have a much better chance securing deals of this kind in the future."

The outsourcer appears to be on a buying spree, having acquired Medicals Direct, a provider of medical screening services, just last week, and Bluefin Corporate Consulting last month.