Newham University Hospital NHS Trust and NHS Newham in the United Kingdom comprise a busy acute hospital and a Primary Care Trust (PCT). Since 2007, both the hospital and the PCT have been supported by a single information and communications technology (ICT) team whose workload has doubled—without a corresponding increase in funding. NHS Newham turned to Microsoft Services Premier Support for help, making its first call to the problem resolution service on the same day as signing the contract.
Newham University Hospital NHS Trust operates a busy acute hospital, while NHS Newham provides a range of primary and community health services working in close partnership with family doctors, dentists, opticians, and pharmacies. Together, the trusts serve the needs of 240,000 residents in the London Borough of Newham.
Since 2007, the acute hospital trust’s ICT team has provided a shared service to Newham University Hospital NHS Trust and the PCT.
The acute hospital ICT department gives technical support to the PCT, which serves 4,000 staff. Of these, 2,000 are at the hospital and the rest work at PCT sites, or general practitioner surgeries and other locations.
Shaun Jeffery, ICT Operations Manager, Newham University Hospital NHS Trust and NHS Newham, says: “The acute trust is campus based but the PCT is highly diversified across the borough, with a significant number of staff working remotely or on the move. When the acute trust ICT department became a shared service, the estate doubled, but funding and the number of technicians did not.”
In seeking help for his team, Jeffery had two other concerns. “NHS IT budgets are likely to come under increasing pressure because expenditure is forecast to shrink from now until 2011, when the NHS comprehensive review settlement runs out,” he says. “At the same time, clinicians want to use IT more effectively to improve efficiency without compromising patient safety or lowering standards of care.”
As a result, Jeffery expressed interest in the backup offered through a Microsoft Services Premier Support package. It includes three key service elements—service management, problem resolution, and proactive services. The latter includes a range of assessment and planning assistance, skills transfer, and prevention and optimisation services.Solution
The most important component of the Premier Support agreement for NHS Newham—signed in March 2009—is the direct relationship with Microsoft through Microsoft Technical Account Manager (TAM) Kelly Axon-Langhorn. She says: “With Premier Support, not only is there knowledge transfer to NHS Newham, but we can also help the IT service become more efficient and the systems more compliant.”
The very first call to the TAM was on the day the agreement was signed. Jeffery says: “A database built by someone in one of the hospital’s clinical departments became corrupted. Our TAM responded immediately, and, with additional support from a database expert within Microsoft, the problem was fixed.”
Yet the primary focus for NHS Newham has been to improve the infrastructure and key systems, starting with a risk assessment programme (RAP) on one of the two Active Directory service domains. Jeffery says: “We had a team workshop and fixed some high-risk issues. After that we were able to risk assess the second Active Directory domain ourselves.”
Subsequently, NHS Newham used Premier Support to commission a RAP to review the Microsoft SQL Server database management software at the acute trust. “The hospital had one instance of the software while the PCT had six,” says Jeffery. “We were also running three different versions of SQL Server. We used the RAP to support the business case for employing a SQL Server database administrator.”
In 2010, NHS Newham plans to work with the TAM and Premier Support to conduct an operations strategic review. This is a series of three workshops to develop an action plan and roadmap for NHS Newham to further develop its infrastructure taking into account IT and business objectives.
Premier Support is giving NHS Newham cost-effective proactive support in making the best use of its existing Microsoft assets, as well as providing opportunities for improving operational resilience. Supported by the TAM, the organisation will make more use of the strategic elements of Premier Support in the second year of the agreement, having initially benefited from reactive support. Jeffery says: “If we had spent money on another consultant, we would have increased our overheads. And we wouldn’t have had the rapid access to the right people at Microsoft that’s available through Premier Support.”
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