NHS Scotland signs Microsoft licensing deal

  • 30 October 2006

NHS Scotland has signed a national deal with Microsoft to supply office software and desktop operating systems at a discounted rate, saving an estimated £8m.

Terms of the three-year deal were not disclosed, and the agreement is the first of its kind that NHS Scotland and Microsoft have signed together. Microsoft already has an enterprise-wide deal with the NHS in England.

Ron Anderson, director of IM&T for NHS National Services Scotland, told E-Health Insider the deal should ultimately benefit patients: “We’re expecting better integration of systems, it will enable us to standardise desktops and move to the development of electronic patient records.”

The new enterprise-wide agreement will cover upgrades to Windows XP Pro, installations of Windows Office 2003 Professional, and client access licences (CALs) for SQL server. It will cover 75,000 desktops and 10,000 CALs.

Professor Stuart Bain, chief executive, NHS National Services Scotland, said: "We see this agreement as a key building block in realising a modern, integrated and efficient health service."

Raymond O’Hare, director of Scotland for Microsoft UK, told EHI NHS Scotland would make "some significant savings" by buying through the agreement, which was a good fit with its modernisation strategy.

"We are pleased to support its modernisation objectives by providing NHS professionals across Scotland with access to the most advanced Microsoft software available."

Another reason behind the deal, said Microsoft and NHS Scotland, was the need for a standardised ‘look and feel’ across the organisation. However, O’Hare stressed that this was different to the Common User Interface being developed for the NHS in England and Wales.

Software will be provided to NHS Scotland through an appointed reseller, Trustmarque Solutions.

Ross Miller, managing director at Trustmarque, said: "We are pleased to be part of this agreement and a trusted partner of NHS Scotland and Microsoft, in delivering a true value offering to enable the ‘Delivering for Health’ strategy. This agreement ensures a best value offering, leveraging the significant buying power of NHS Scotland."

Anderson said the deal was “in effect now” and that NHS National Services Scotland would monitor take-up of licenses by NHS trusts and Health Boards.

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