Dudley Primary Care Trust has announced that it has been working with IT consultancy Centralis to develop a shared service infrastructure underpinned by a virtualised desktop environment.

The PCT said the two key factors driving the move were the need to manage user requirements for 3000 staff spread across more than 100 locations and its new role as the single service provider for the mental health trust in Walsall where it had no control of access to the IT system.

Centralis said it successfully developed a proof of concept design built on Citrix XenServer, Citrix XenApp, Citrix XenDesktop, AppSense and Secure Remote Access which demonstrated how the PCT could provide desktop access for two separate IT environments. It said the solution provided an equal experience for users whether they logged in through the Dudley or Walsall network. It also meant Dudley would be able to consolidate its IT server environment from 120 physical servers to about 16 virtual servers.

Bill Remmer, head of IT at Dudley PCT, said Centralis’s role had been critical in realising the PCT’s vision of a centralised desktop delivery model.

He added: “Not only does the solution tick all the boxes for provisioning access for the mental health trust but it will also enable us to keep track of the way we provide services across the PCT.”

He said the trust had now carried out a great deal of testing and planned to invest in the infrastructure to make its shared services vision a reality.

Ewan Anderson, managing director at Centralis, added: “With funding increasingly tight the shared services model adopted by Dudley PCT highlights a best practice approach for public sector IT, both reducing costs while improving service.”