London to start implementation immediately

  • 8 December 2003

The NHS’s IT boss for London has told E-Health insider that implementation work is set to begin immediately, following today’s announcement of the award of a £996m, 10-year contract to BT to act as Local Service Provider (LSP) for the capital.

Speaking to E-Health Insider immediately after the announcement of the contract this morning David Kwo, chief information officer for the London NHS region, said planning for implementation was already underway: “Detailed planning, phasing and implementation work has already begun.”

He added that it was his role as NHS London’s CIO to co-ordinate between the national programme, local NHS trusts and the LSP. “I am the lynchpin,” said Kwo.

Kwo admitted that he had been in the dark about the final contract award decision until just before that morning’s press conference.  Asked when he learned whether the rival IBM or BT-led bid had been chosen, Mr Kwo said: “About 40 minutes ago.”

The immediate next step said the London NHS IT boss would be to ramp up communications: “We will be communicating more from today.”

“We are very pleased with the solution chosen,” added Kwo.  As IT director at Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster NHS Trust, Mr Kwo oversaw the implementation of an IDX solution.  He stressed that IDX had since been selected by other sites, particularly University College Hospitals London NHS Trust, which in September signed a £70m deal with IDX and Logica CMG.

Questioned about priorities and phasing of the implementation programme in London, Kwo said: “We have a few early sites that have urgent requirements, particularly new build sites, these include Barking, Havering and Redbridge, Bart’s and the London and the Paddington Health Campus, and these will require earlier solutions. I expect work to begin with them very soon.”

Other priorities will include developing standardised solutions that will work across healthcare settings and support the National Service Frameworks.

Mr Kwo added that mental health was likely to be another priority: “We are also particularly keen on working on mental health, because in London it happens to be a well organised, with a shared vision of approach and we want to build on this.”

The London CIO again sought to allay concerns that the national programme will not be seeking to rip out existing operational systems, and that systems to be delivered by BT will be competitively priced: “It will be priced at a level that will sit well by local business priorities.”

Commenting on weekend press reports that the National Programme was examining Linux as an alternative to Microsoft products, Kwo confirmed that the London contract is based on BT providing a Windows-based desktop.  “The LSPs have been asked to put forward a preferred solution, in London that is based on a Windows desktop.”  


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