Better basics for Guy's and St Thomas'

Image: St Thomas' Hospital in London

A ‘better basics’ initiative at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust is tackling the trust’s “piecemeal” infrastructure, and will focus on improving PC performance and internet access.

The trust’s IT strategy was passed by the board in December last year and signals an investment of £213m in IT over the next five years.

The strategy says the trust has underinvested in core infrastructure and this has resulted in stability issues and service outages.

Group IT director, Scott Sommerville, said: “We have processes in place and there’s no impact on patient safety or service, but the key thing is to move more information off paper and onto electronic.

“The need for the investment is really not so much about how infrastructure is impacting patients today or clinicians today, but how we need to support them in the new world where 90% of data is held electronically and they are using systems live.

“The Better Basics programme is about getting those foundations in place to allow us to effectively scale over the next five years.”

The strategy details an investment of more than £25m in supporting infrastructure that will be capable of operating 24/7 and supporting a mobile workforce.

There are initiatives in place to improve PC and printer performance, and investment will be made in the laptop estate; which does not support offline working or the latest technology applications, such as Windows 7 and Office 2010.

The bedside infrastructure provided by Hospedia will be updated over the next six months, while the speech bleep system will be replaced in March 2013.

Bleeps will ultimately be replaced by a “hospital in pocket” scheme, which will see all existing phones, BlackBerry smartphones, bleeps and pagers replaced with a smaller number of standard devices.

The strategy also says the trust’s telephony systems are“becoming unstable” and an improved voice communications infrastructure will be delivered.

Furthermore, the trust’s internet service is no longer suitable to support the rangeof demands being made for remote access to information.

“Access to the internet is constrained by the bandwidth available on the NHS network and the configuration of our systems,”the strategy says.

“We will separate internet traffic to a dedicated line with increased bandwidth and reconfigure the systems to ensure good access speeds.”

The strategy goes on to outline the unsatisfactory performance of the document archive system, WinDipas and says it will be replaced over the coming year.

Sommerville said it should be an “exciting time for the next five years."

“We see a lot of organisations trying to strip cost out of IT when those organisations account for 1.5% of the turnover of the business.

“Our view is that investment in that small percentage of turnover can attack the efficiency of the other 98.5% and that’s how the board sees it as well,” he added.

Last updated: 19 April 2012 17:39

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