Matrix Communications has won two large-scale contracts worth around £1m to provide new Mitel IP telephony (IPT) solutions to four NHS trusts in the London boroughs of Camden and Islington.

The contracts cover the Camden Primary Care Trust (PCT), Islington PCT and Camden and Islington Mental Health and Social Care Trust – all served by Camden & Islington ICT Shared Services – and also the Whittington Hospital NHS Trust.

Andy McClintock, director of ICT shared services at Islington PCT said: “The new Mitel VoIP system enables the Islington Primary Care Trust to benefit in a variety of ways. We now have enhanced features and better sound quality and we are finding it easier and quicker to provide and support new telephone services with a more resilient system. Most importantly, our staff will benefit from mobile working and home working capabilities with the new solution.”

He said the trust was also seeing cost savings with the IPT system as it disengaged from a legacy managed service contract and embarked upon a pan-trust modernisation of its wide area network infrastructure.

Neil Sturgess, head of voice for Matrix Communications told E-Health Insider that PCTs would be the main beneficiaries of the free intersite calls available with IPT since they have multiple locations.

For the Whittington, as an acute campus hospital, the benefits flow mostly from the increased mobility afforded by IPT. For example, he said, the new system enabled staff to punch in their code and pick up their ‘profile’ in the system. This makes them available on their dedicated extension number and gives users access to facilities such as their short codes.

From the patient point of view, Sturgess predicted that IPT would make people within the trusts more accessible with fewer failed calls. “There’s a feature called Presence Management; from a PC you can see the availability of people in the corporate telephone system – whether they are available, on the phone, on leave or unavailable.”

The system also offers the facility to send instant messages and to conference an extra person into a conversation. “The instant message is no longer realm of teenagers in the evening,” said Sturgess.

In terms of the physical environment, Sturgess said converging voice and data meant less cabling on greenfield sites and less re-cabling in existing facilities.

In a separate development, communictions integrator, Affiniti, has announced the successful completion of a new IP communications infrastructure for SELSSP (South East London Shared Services Partnership), an executive agency of Lewisham PCT. The network provides a fully resilient IPT-enabled core and connects 3000 users across 68 SELSSP sites in a Community of Interest Network (COIN). The new infrastructure will help to streamline working processes and improve patient care, as well as preparing the Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham PCTs for inclusion in the NHS National Programme for IT.