I am writing to clarify the procurement of a clinically focused information system for Bolton Hospitals trust (IT Update, page 3, 30 September).

This will replace our existing SMS patient administration system by April 2000. The trust's aims for an integrated patient care information support system have been to obtain a top-quality service with maximum value for money, while minimising time spent on procurement.

The trust placed its OJEC advertisement in September 1998 and received 33 responses. After thorough evaluation it shortlisted three suppliers.

That two suppliers chose to suspend their involvement for commercial reasons does not alter the quality of iSOFT, the remaining supplier. But it has enabled us to concentrate on furthering more detailed negotiations with iSOFT.

Now the trust has submitted its full business case seeking approval from regional office. The trust hopes a contract can be awarded shortly.

Your article implied we had little choice in the procurement process.

In fact choice exists throughout the process and any forward-looking trust will have evaluated and selected carefully its shortlisted suppliers before contract negotiations.

Alison Roberts Project director Bolton Hospitals trust