Thanks in part to NPfIT, 100,000 NHS staff have bought Microsoft Office 2007 for less than £20

As part of an Enterprise Agreement deal struck by the beneficent Microsoft and the NHS, 100,000 NHS staff have acquired Microsoft Office 2007 for less than £20. It normally sells for about £370.

To acquire Office 2007 hundreds of thousands of NHS staff need pay only a “fulfilment fee” to cover packaging, shipping and handling costs – around £17. Microsoft’s executives want NHS staff to acquire or improve their computer skills, and it will do employees no harm to learn on the company’s products.

Connecting for Health, which runs the NHS’s National Programme for IT [NPfIT], negotiated the renewal of the Department of Health’s NHS wide licence for Microsoft desktop products, securing what it believed were the lowest prices in the world.

The deal is said to save the taxpayer £330m over nine years but Whitehall officials have refused to say what, if any, volume commitments the NHS has given to Microsoft in return for the low prices. They said the terms of the deal are commercially confidential.