Accreditation win for Barts and London service desk

  • 19 February 2007

Barts and The London NHS Trust has become the first hospital trust in England to win Connecting for Health accreditation to provide expert IT support to NHS organisations nationally.

The accreditation allows the trust to offer 24-hour Front Line Support Services for National Programme for IT (NPfIT) Applications such as the NHS Care Records Service, Choose and Book, Electronic Prescriptions Service and Picture Archiving and Communications Service.

CfH allows trusts to procure their own local support services, which have to be available 24hours a day, 365 days a year, by phone, fax and e-mail. They are able to control support issues themselves, and no longer need to go through the NPfIT service desk, operated by Fujitsu, which went live last month .

The trust is the first to make it successfully through the new NHS Local Service Desk accreditation scheme, after going through CfH’s 12 week accreditation process to ensure their service desk met NHS standards.

Barts and The London’s Service Desk is already provided to 20,000 IT customers at Tower Hamlets PCT, Homerton University Hospital, Newham University Hospital, Newham PCT, City and Hackney PCT, East London and The City Mental Health Trust and London Borough of Tower Hamlets Social Services, amongst others.

As an independent service desk, the trust says it can now report incidents directly to the supporting LSP, allowing incidents on national application services to be dealt with in a direct and effective way.

Head of ICT Services at Barts and The London NHS Trust, Doug Howe said: “With the accreditation, we can now report all incidents ourselves, and other trusts can now log this incident with our service desk, where we can then either fix the problem ourselves or pass it directly on to the service desk provider for resolution.”

The accreditation will also ensure that the Change and Release programme is carried out in a way that will lessen the impact to clinical staff by ensuring that disruption to service is minimised, when new systems or software need implementing.

Lorraine Campbell, programme head for NHS Connecting for Health, said: “The accreditation for BLT’s service desk is recognition of the maturity and quality of service provided to its 20,000 IT customers. By successfully accrediting BLT to the required standard, NHS Connecting for Health has been able to offer the NHS choice in how they service the users of National Programme applications.”

At present, BLT have 62 support team members in their support team who work different shifts to provide a 24hour service and Howe believes that this will expand as more trusts look to BLT for NPfIT support.

“As a team we have made great strides to develop an IT service desk that is responsive, quick and professional in the services that we provide to our customers. We are now in the unique position of being able to offer these services to other NHS Trusts in the UK and are already being contacted by NHS Trusts across the UK.”

Howe told E-Health Insider that the service desk team had to demonstrate that their system was able to act as a reporting tool, an incident log-in tool, have a thorough reporting process and handle all supporting documentation.

“We were determined to prove to CfH that our service desk was as capable as the national service desk and could handle all queries to be sent to the local service provider (LSP). After much testing and checks, we were ecstatic to be the first trust to formally receive this accreditation.”

The team had initially spent two to three years working on achieving accreditation after a critical review of process and compliance to the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) best practice framework.

The process was very thorough and involved providing evidence of processes and procedures, demonstrating high standards of documentation, a high level of knowledge and understanding of national applications and a clear and tested escalation plan.

Scenario tests were carried out involving end to end tests which included BLT and their local service provider, BT Health.

Barts and The London now expect more trusts to sign up for their support desk once more NPfIT deployments are made. Initially, they expect demand to come from London, having built up a reputation in the East London region, but are welcome to trusts from other clusters taking up their services.

Anyone interested can e-mail or call 020 7377 7070.

Over 146 other NHS trusts have also applied for NHS Local Service Desk accreditation.

Related article

Barts and The London NHS Trust


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