Chief information officers and IT directors in London are hoping to explore a capital-wide deal with Microsoft following the termination of the company’s Enterprise-wide Agreement with the NHS.

Sources have told E-Health Insider that at a general meeting in London last week there was a “huge amount of disgruntlement” about the decision not to renew Microsoft’s contract with the NHS for server and desktop licences.

One London IT director said: “We are now looking to the person who chairs the acute side of things, to look into the London Procurement Programme to see what they can do for and us and if there is any way forward there.”

Earlier this week, NHS Connecting for Health sent a confidential document to NHS trusts across the country detailing what the termination of the agreement means for the health service.

The document , titled ‘Microsoft Desktop Enterprise Agreement – Frequently Asked Questions’ sets out the timetable for the transfer of nationally held licences to the NHS and details what trusts now do and do not have.

It says that “during July to September 2010, the licences associated with the centrally purchased contracts will be transferred to NHS entities and it indicates that this will be done on the basis of trust returns to a survey earlier this year.

However, trusts will now have to buy Software Assurance, which guarantees access to upgrades, security improvements and support, because the EwA did not secure perpetual rights to SA.

Trusts using the Forefront Protection Suite as a desktop antivirus solution may continue to use the antivirus for free until 31 May 2011, but will have to pay for it thereafter.

Staff who have taken advantage of the Home User Programme, which gave them access to copies of Microsoft Office for the cost of postage, must uninstall the software now. EHI understands that up to 100,000 NHS staff may have to delete their home software.

One trust CIO told EHI: “We have no idea who took advantage of the Home User Programme. A lot of people wouldn’t have taken notice of the terms and conditions and will be very disappointed that they will no longer be able to use the software.”

In addition, he raised concerns that trusts could face hefty bills after responding to the Microsoft Software Survey earlier this year, which they understood as being an exercise to support EwA contract renewal. Trusts were asked how many licences they had and to give a percentage certainty.

He said: “If we’d said that there was an 80% certainty that we had 5,000 PCs with 5,000 licences, under the agreement they are saying that because you are only 80% certain, you can only have 4,000 licences and you’d have to pay for any extra.”

The document states that trusts will be allocated a number of licences within the range of certainty given by the survey return.

On the crucial issue of what the NHS owns, the document says it has an “adequate number of perpetual licences” for: Office Professional Plus 2010, Windows Server 2008 R2, Exchange Server 2010, SharePoint Server 2010, System Centre Configuration Manager 2007 R2, Windows Professional Upgrade (on devices with a suitable operating system license), SQL Server 2008 R” and Forefront Unified Access Gateway.

It is these licences that will be allocated to NHS organisations for ongoing management. Trusts will need to buy new licences for new devices if their estate is growing.

Trusts must now choose a Microsoft accredited LAR to source and manage Microsoft software in the future.

“We would point out that the NHS is an extremely important market to the IT industry, and a number of LARs are very keen to enter at this time,” the FAQ says. “Trusts should therefore take every opportunity to secure best value from LARS and look for/demand special offers that LARS may wish to make.”