Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust is moving to a single IT pharmacy system “as soon as possible” after its reliance on Windows XP was raised as an issue by the trust board.

Support for the obsolete XP operating system, which was first released in 2001, ended in early April, causing concern at the time about how it would affect the health service.

While the government managed to sign a one-year deal with Microsoft to provide XP support and security updates for the entire public sector, including the NHS, trusts with more than 250 Windows XP users need a premier support agreement with Microsoft and a “robust” migration plan to move off XP, Office 2003, and Exchange 2003 within a year in order to take part.

Research by EHI Intelligence calculated that approximately 85% of the 800,000 PCs in the NHS were still running XP in September last year.

Trust board papers containing the March minutes from the trust’s audit, risk and governance committee show that Imperial is one of the trusts which needs move off XP.

Committee members were told by Imperial College CIO Kevin Jarrold at the meeting that the trust had been upgrading its PCs from XP to Windows 7 ahead of the March 31 support deadline, but pharmacy systems were among a number of areas where the trust could not make the change.

This was because one of the trust’s two pharmacy systems works with only XP and not Windows 7.

The minutes say an outline business case for setting up a new single system had been presented to the investment committee in February and approved to go out for tender, with a full business case going back to the same committee on July 14.

The committee was told that it would take about six months to put the new system in place, meaning the trust would have been at risk for about one year had XP support not been secured.

A spokesperson for Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust told EHI: “The trust recognises the importance of having a modern and uniform IT structure across our organisation which is why we have upgraded our PC estate to Windows 7.

“We have a small residual problem associated with legacy systems that require XP. We are committed to moving to a single IT system in pharmacy as soon as possible and our procurement of a pharmacy system will address this issue.”