News in brief

Short takes on this week's news

NHS Direct to operate from a single database
NHS Direct has consolidated all its five million patient records into a single database and upgraded its call centres across the UK to create a “virtual contact centre”. The move is designed to make sure patient enquiries can be easily handled, regardless of their origin. By using a system from Clinical Solutions, nurses and health advisors can quickly prioritise calls, access the relevant records and provide accurate health advice.

Home Office confirms ID card scheme revision
The government has confirmed that it intends to reduce the risks of the £5.4bn ID card programme by rolling it out in stages rather than taking a big bang approach. Home Office minister Joan Ryan said the project would be developed in a way that is effective and makes best use of resources.

HP takes top spot in worldwide PC shipments
Hewlett-Packard has overtaken Dell as the world’s number one in PC shipments, according to analyst Gartner. Gartner said HP had pipped Dell to the number one
slot for the first time since the fourth quarter of 2003. For the
third quarter of 2006, HP shipped 110,000 more units than Dell.

EU project to assess quality of open source
A consortium consisting of leading European open source projects, consultants and research bodies has secured EU funding to measure the quality of open source software. The project aims to address one of the perceived barriers to the adoption of open source software – proof that free software that has its source code published can outperform more expensive, brand-marketed software.

Microsoft delays XP upgrade to early 2008
Microsoft has pushed back the introduction of Windows XP Service Pack 3 to the first half of 2008. The next big upgrade to Windows XP had been expected in the second half of next year, but delays in the introduction of Windows Vista are believed to have had an impact on the Windows XP upgrade.

Salaries for CIOs soar by 20% in the past year
Salaries for chief information officers have increased by almost 20% since 2005. The latest survey of 5,000 CIOs by global recruitment firm Harvey Nash has reported that the average salary is £104,000.

NHS provider iSoft puts itself on the market
Troubled NHS software provider iSoft is up for sale as it struggles to deliver a working records system to the NHS. The company confirmed it was up for sale last week, saying there may be an outright purchase of the firm or the possibility of a "strategic alliance". A number of interested parties are said to be in discussions with iSoft.

Birmingham Council to roll out SAP in back office
Birmingham City Council will implement SAP throughout its back-office in the biggest software deal in local government. The council's legacy systems will be replaced with SAP next year after a five-month planning phase. SAP will be the platform for Birmingham's programme to save £1bn over 10 years.

Hospitality firm signs deal with Europacom
TCG Acquisitions, which owns Henry's Café Bar, Bar 38 and Squares, has cut the cost of running its telecoms infrastructure by signing a deal with communications services firm Europacom to manage the service. The hospitality and pub firm, which runs 178 outlets, had encountered service level problems because of a lack of records and information relating to the communications infrastructure in each site.

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