Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust has chosen a thin client strategy to cope with increasing demands on its network, which serves 4,000 staff and 3,000 computers across 100 sites.

The mental health trust asked IT consultancy Centralis to design and build a proof of concept based on Citrix’s XenApp and Appsense to centralise desktop delivery to staff.

Some 250 mobile workers and 750 staff at locations with smaller network connections will go live on the new application delivery platform early this year, with the potential to scale it up to all staff later in the year.

The trust says it expects to save about £250,000 a year for an initial investment of £650,000.

“The objectives of this project were not driven by cost savings, although significant cost savings will be realised and future costs will be avoided,” said Les Manley, director of information and IM&T.

“Desktop virtualisation is the next step in a series of exciting developments and will give our health and social care professionals the flexibility they need to deliver high q2uality services in a continuously changing and challenging environment.”

Ewen Anderson, managing director of Centralis, said other benefits included improved security. “Patients no longer have to worry that their data is being held on a laptop that could be stolen or lost,” he said.

“This is a great example of a forward thinking customer, using proven technology to benefits both users and patients while also making operational savings – all of which is now feasible with the centralised desktop platform.”

Centralis has also welcomed the Government ICT strategy published by the Cabinet Office last week, which stresses the need for more use of cloud-based, open-source and standardisation across the public sector.

However, Anderson argued that making it work would require organisations to both form strong partnerships with vendors and other organisations and to be more open about the successes and failures of their projects.

“Achieving [the strategy] at UK level requires organisations to set, monitor and report on metrics that identify the aims of their ICT projects, the key technologies used, the success (or otherwise) achieved and the business partners used to deliver them,” he argued. “[This] would create a very useful catalogue of public sector experience.”

Links: Centralis

Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust