A hospital trust in the North West has said it is likely to be the first in the region to buy a major IT system outside the national programme for IT.

Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Foundation Trust told HSJ it had tendered for an alternative after waiting too long for the hugely delayed national NHS IT programme, which is meant to install standard systems to hospitals across large regions.

Chief executive Andrew Foster said it still had the option to go back into the programme if the national programme’s acute health record product for the region, Lorenzo 1.9, soon proved successful. This looks increasingly unlikely though, as the Department of Health refused to sign renegotiated contracts with CSC, the national programme contractor for the region, at the end of March.

The foundation’s move would make it one of a handful of trusts in the huge North, Midlands and East Programme for IT grouping to procure outside the programme, and the only one in the north west region.

Mr Foster said: “The national programme is way behind timetable and we are not convinced it is going to deliver at all. We have needed to be upgraded for a long time and we have waited and waited, and we have got to the point where in order to deliver modern healthcare we need a new system, and we need it soon.”

His comments come after the chief executive of one of the other trusts to go outside the programme, Brian James of The Rotherham Foundation Trust, told last week’s HC2010 conference in Birmingham the troubled project had “put back the contribution of IT in the NHS by more than ten years”.

He said it had also left the NHS with a lack of IT expertise, as trusts had expected solutions to be brought to them.