Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust is outsourcing all of its IT and communications services to HP Enterprise Services.

The company, formerly EDS, will take control of IT from the Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Health Informatics Service next month, and stay at the helm until 2016.

The trust’s medical director, Dr Pete Sudbury, said an options appraisal conducted with the help of Channel 3 Consulting had shown that it simply made more sense to outsource the contract than to keep it in-house.

“We looked at keeping it in-house and that was just not a viable option – why would you try and do it yourself if you can get HP to do it for you?

“The cost over five years would have been about what we would have incurred had we stayed with our current provider – pretty much.”

The trust took advantage of the government’s Desktop21 procurement framework in awarding the multi-million pound contract.

The framework, which is managed by OGC Buying Solutions, is intended to give public sector organisations with more than 1,500 ‘seats’ access to a range of integration, network and desk-top services.

It awarded framework agreement to three companies – Fujitsu Services, Atos Origin IT Services UK and HP Enterprise Services UK – to provide fully managed desktop services.

Dr Sudbury said HP’s strategy was the most in line with what the trust needed.

“What we were looking for was people that could provide us with a really solid and reliable IT and communications infrastructure … and you don’t get that from a local health infrastructure service because it’s really complex and difficult to do well.”

As part of the agreement, HP will bring together the trust’s data and voice services, so trust staff can access trust applications from a range of mobile devices and use the same phone number whether they are sitting at a desk or working in the community.

Louise Felstead, the trust’s head of IM&T, who joined the NHS from the private sector in 2009, said she wanted to give its staff the same kind of IT support that workers in major private sector companies enjoyed.

“If people working for a utility service or bank have access to better technology and information than the people I support there is something wrong,” she said.

“That is why we are doing something about it. Not by increasing what we spend, but spending it in a smarter way and working with real experts in the field.”

She told eHealth Insider she was confident the trust could work in partnership with its new service provider.

“What it means is we can work in partnership with HP and draw on their expertise that they use in the technological space and we can bring that into play within the NHS.

“I’m hoping other trusts can look at this profile as a potential for saving money – as I can only see the bills going down.”

The trust implemented CSE Healthcare’s RiO patient administration system as part of the National Programme for IT in the NHS. Dr Sudbury said the time has come to modernise the system.

“The next step is to look at what a really modern patient record looks like, and to do that we need really stable and reliable IT. Our plan also includes mobile, which is one of the things we need to invest in and you need really good IT to do that reliably.”