The Challenge of Managing NHS Systems – Contracting IT Experts
Public sector investment in the IT operations of the NHS, and the NHS Systems, receives a lot of scrutiny.
The public is quickly made aware of the cost of failures in the design and implementation of any systems at a local or national level, but not the sheer cost and scale it takes to manage the IT of the one of the world’s largest and most complex organisations.
Whilst these may make great headlines they also highlight the challenge of implementing solutions within an organisation like the NHS. The NHS is a massive organisation, employing more than 1.3m people in England alone with an annual budget of more than 100bn.
Although there are national IT systems, which can be accessed across the N3 backbone, the responsibility for the management and implementation of IT services for any one organisation, inside the NHS, locally and regionally, falls to the NHS Trust controlling one of the following organisations:
- NHS Hospital Trust
- NHS Mental Health Trust
- NHS Ambulance Services Trust
- Community Health NHS Trust
The Community Health NHS Trusts, delivering primary care, will be advised, and controlled financially, by one of 209 Clinical Commissioning Groups across England that manage 60% of the NHS’ budget between them.
Vidazone have been working with a number of trusts recently to help them balance and prioritise their IT investments; helping identify, and find a way of tackling, the following challenges.
Lots of Systems
The NHS has a vast scope and scale of different activities it undertakes on a day to day basis, from appointment setting, stock management, procurement and patient records keeping; all underpinning patient care provision. There are lots of different systems in place that need to be managed and optimised. The operational upkeep of so many systems takes a lot of resources and each trust needs to know how many of these are critical to patient care; with a focus being placed on these to ensure the delivery of each is robust and that they will resilient to component failures.
Lots Of IT Specialisms
The scale of the infrastructure and the systems contained within it mean that to run an efficient infrastructure there are lots of different IT disciplines that need to be incorporated. This may include infrastructure management, general engineering, software and solutions delivery, and personnel overseeing continuity planning and disaster recovery processes. Not every trust is able to cover all these disciplines; being able to call on organisations like Vidazone allows them to compliment the expertise they have in house.
Budget Planning and Focussed Spend
The NHS is always under pressure from a budgetary perspective to do more with the same, or a declining number of, resources available.
With external IT Consulting resources being engaged this can help NHS trusts to challenge their own way of working and to narrow down where best to spend the capital they have available; in order to deliver their patient centric programmes of work.
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