Microsoft is running a consultation to ask NHS IT professionals what they want to see in a future Enterprise wide Agreement between the NHS and the company.

The EwA is currently under negotiation as part of a nine-year provisional agreement and is due to expire in 2010.

Microsoft signed its EwA with the NHS in October 2001, and subsequently extended it in July 2007. The original deal covered 600,000 desktop licenses, with the number later extended to 850,000.

A questionnaire hosted on Microsoft’s NHS Resource Centre asks staff what they’d like to see as part of a future EwA, assuming the Department of Health decides to award one. With the Treasury looking for deep efficiency savings, all public sector expenditure is under close scrutiny.

“It is an opportunity for IT decision makers to feed back on what they have liked and disliked about the previous EwA,” said John Coulthard, director of healthcare and life sciences at Microsoft.

“It is also an opportunity for them to say how they would like to see this improved so as to better suit their needs and help them achieve their targets.”

He added: “We want to gauge whether there are things they’d want to see included in a future EwA. We ask for feedback, good or bad, on how they think the EwA has been working for them.”

The consultation began in August and runs to the end of September. Responses have so far been received from IT leads at more than120 NHS trusts. Everyone who completes the questionnaire will be entered into a draw to win either one of 10 smart phones or 40 copies of Windows 7 Ultimate.

“We’ve asked about products that are not included, like Microsoft Dynamics Customer Relationship Management and the Amalga Unified Intelligence System – products we think are interesting for the NHS,” said Coulthard.

The current Microsoft EwA covers Microsoft’s main desktop and server software, including Office and Vista.

Specifically, the deal includes Client Access Licenses (CALs) for the following products: Windows Server; Exchange 2007; Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 Enterprise; System Center products; SQL 2008.

In the run-up to the last renegotiation, Microsoft launched the NHS Resource Centre, which gives NHS staff a number of other benefits, such as access to comprehensive online training in common Microsoft products and heavily discounted Office software for home use.

The site is also a web portal dedicated to NHS staff and healthcare partners that allows them to share best practice and experience through articles, events, tips, user groups and discussion forums.


E-Health Media Ltd provides editorial services for the NHS Resource Centre

Link: Microsoft NHS Resource Centre