In 2011 NHS Connecting for Health, part of the Department of Health Informatics Directorate, announced that the existing national agreement for the delivery and management of Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) and Radiology Information System (RIS) services would expire in June 2013 with no planned replacement or alternative solution. This decision left the South West region with an enormous challenge in that new service and support agreements needed to be in place in a very short timescale in order to maintain business continuity and limit risk to patient care.
In September 2011, the PPSA helped form and then lead a South West Consortia procurement team to confront this challenge head on.
PACS is used by all Acute NHS Trusts across England enabling digital images captured through equipment such as CT, MRI and Ultrasound scanners to be accessed and viewed on screens at multiple locations on multiple devices such as PC’s, Laptops, Smartphones and Tablets shared anywhere, not just within departments. This provides for more effective team working between clinicians. PACS is linked with a RIS. Radiologists report on x-rays and scanned images that they can view on PACS, subsequent reports are then accessible from the images with which they are linked.