NHS Scotland is to set up a framework agreement for IT services, including consulting, software development, internet provision and support for its desktops.
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Earlier this year NHS Scotland began a programme of work to establish a desktop strategy. The NHS Scotland work programme was to provide recommendations for the infrastructure of 98,000 client end points.
One of the core purposes of the programme was to take a deeper look at the possibility of adopting an open standards desktop as a more cost-effective solution, NHS Scotland said.
The strategy was developed out of the decision not to renew its contract with Microsoft, according to minutes from Scotland's eHealth board.
NHS Scotland is developing a set of standards to support the Open Desktop programme. Compatibility and cost issues are key issues under scrutiny, said NHS Scotland.
Once the testing is complete, consideration will be given to how the Open Desktop could be adopted into the NHS production environment.
The scheduled date for the framework agreement is likely start on 1 September this year.