South Canterbury District Health Board fears it may be taken to the cleaners because of its need for specialist laundry software. The board has received just a handful of suitable responses in its search and worries this may leave it with little bargaining power.
The software manages the workflow that goes through the Timaru Hospital laundry and charges it out.
New software would replace a system developed more than 10 years ago by Canterbury Health called Advanced Revelation Version 1. SCDHB computer manager David Frater says this system is “pretty old”, has not been upgraded and is prone to corruption. Frater does not even know if its Christchurch-based developer is still operating.
Timaru Hospital, he says, is one of a few hospitals that have managed to keep hold of their laundry operations, rather than have them outsourced commercially. The hospital laundry has developed into a business supplying private and other health providers, local motels and other small businesses in the area, plus a fish processing centre and freezing works. It claims 283 commercial clients overall, needing 82 tonnes of laundry done a month.
The board began seeking suitable suppliers before Christmas and to date claims four positive responses. About five others were unsuitable.
“There does not look to be too many [suitable providers] out there,” says Frayer, who notes that most seem to be for drycleaning operators.
Quotes received so far range from $5000 to $30,000, he says, emphasising that the board does not want to be paying the latter figure.
“It looks like it may be the lack of what’s in the marketplace that may be the hurdle but I think we will find something suitable. We just don’t want to pay the earth,” Frater says.
The proposals tender process begins this week, with a decision hoped for next month and installation due by June 30.