Department of Health confirms IT decisions will be made by NHS trusts not centrally

More on the Government’s decision to end a buying agreement with Microsoft.

An enterprise agreement that enabled NHS organisations to buy Microsoft software as a group, some 800,000 desktops, at special rates has been ended because it apparently did not provide value for money.

Since I linked to the original story the government confirmed is now letting NHS trusts make their own buying decisions.

A Department of Health spokesman said:

“The Department of Health has already invested so that NHS Trusts are able to have access to the latest versions of Microsoft desktop software. Future investment decisions will be taken at a local level in line with the proposals set out in the White Paper published this week.”

This is interesting for outsourcers in the light of the government’s current attempts to cut the cost of IT.

The NHS move is significant because it reverses the IT procurement strategy of the NHS National Project for IT, which determined what NHS Trusts could buy.

According to a small technology company I recently spoke to: “A rolling back of the NHS National Programme for IT will benefit us because hospitals all over the country were holding back investment in their own IT initiatives.”

This might suggest that standardisation might not be to of the government agenda.

I spoke to Sam Kingston, UK head at T-Systems yesterday and he told me about the importance of standardistaion to cut long term costs.


See also: ten ways the government could cut IT costs.