News in brief

Short takes on this week's news

Short takes on this week's news

BT drops main clinical system from NHS project

BT has dropped its main clinical software system, GE Healthcare's IDX, from its 10-year NHS National Programme for IT contract for London. Thirty months after the contract was awarded, BT is switching to systems from US-based Cerner.

Cambridge City Council signs £6m IT contract

Cambridge City Council has signed a £6m five-year deal with Serco Solutions to provide and support its IT infrastructure. The deal extends an existing six-year contract with Serco and will cover the council's desktops, servers, telephony, network services and business applications used by 900 staff.

IBM unveils servers based on AMD chips

IBM has unveiled a new range of mainstream business servers that use processors from AMD. The move puts more pressure on Intel, which is facing greater competition from rival AMD. The new IBM servers are expected to be launched within three months.

Microsoft releases 12 security patches

Microsoft is today (8 August) releasing 12 security patches for vulnerabilities in its Windows operating system and Office productivity suite. The patches are being released as part of the company's monthly scheduled security update. Ten address security issues in Windows, and two are for the Office suite.

AstraZeneca appoints Williams as new CIO

Pharmaceuticals company AstraZeneca has appointed a new chief information officer to replace Paul Burfitt, who retired last week after seven years in the job. Rich Williams, who was promoted internally, has been working alongside Burfitt since April.

Schuh steps up to new Epos infrastructure

Footwear retailer Schuh has implemented new electronic point of sale hardware and printers in its 69 UK stores. Schuh chose NCR Pos workstations and thermal receipt printers from reseller Epos Logic. Proprietary software has also been deployed on tills to give head office a real-time view of sales.

Commons IT committee voices ID card doubts

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee has expressed doubts about the government's ID card plans. Its latest report said the programme's focus on biometrics had "detracted attention from other technological and scientific aspects", resulting in an inconsistent approach to scientific advice and evidence. The MPs recommended that the Home Office employ a systems architect and establish an IT assurance committee to provide advice.

Major US banks push for simpler Basel 2 regime

Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, Wachovia and Washington Mutual are lobbying the US Federal Reserve to allow them to adopt a simplified version of the Basel 2 compliance regime for banks. The banks want to adopt the simplified version used by smaller banks to avoid having to build sophisticated risk management systems.

IBM offers free tools to speed RFID take-up

A shortage of radio frequency identification skills among businesses has prompted IBM to produce a free set of software tools and training resources. The move is aimed at speeding the adoption of RFID technology by addressing this key barrier, said IBM.

Dorset councils sign social care records deal

Three Dorset councils aim to be sharing data on vulnerable children via electronic social care records before the end of the year. The Borough of Poole, Bournemouth Borough Council and Dorset County Council have signed a £3.8m deal with software suppliers CareWorks and Northgate Information Solutions to deliver the electronic records.

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