Two thirds of trusts still on XP

  • 16 October 2014
Two thirds of trusts still on XP
Two thirds still have not migrated off Windows XP.

More than two thirds of respondents to a short EHI survey say they have not migrated off Windows XP six months after Microsoft ended its support for the obsolete operating system.

After a long count-down, Microsoft ended support for XP on 8 April, although the Cabinet Office signed a deal with the company to provide support and security updates to public sector organisations still using the system.

At the time, both the Cabinet Office and the Department of Health warned NHS trusts, which are big users of XP, not to use the deal as an excuse to put off migrating to more modern operating systems.

However, the survey found that only 19% of the 99 trust, mental health trust, or other NHS respondents migrated before 8 April, and that since then only 18% of those that didn’t meet the deadline have migrated. 

More positively, 62% of the respondents that have not migrated now have plans in place; with 73% of those planning to migrate within the next six months.

Unfortunately, this means that around a third of these organisations (and around a quarter of the total survey sample) still have no plans in place.

In addition, some respondents said they were struggling with migration programmes. “While the aim is to migrate within the next six months this is unlikely to be achievable,” one wrote.

“[There are] too many systems out there which are not compatible. [There are] even current, ongoing deployments which are not compatible.”

Another said that the process is taking longer than first planned: “We have been in the process of migration for the past 18 months [but]15% of our current establishment remains on XP.”

The survey ran for a week on the EHI website. It received 105 responses, of which 99 were from people who identified themselves as working within the NHS. Just over half (57%) of those were from people working in acute trusts.

Nearly all of those that have migrated have chosen to switch to Windows 7, with only two saying they have migrated to other operating systems.

Windows 7 appears to be the most popular choice because it was covered by the Enterprise wide Agreement between the DH and Microsoft that expired in 2010, and because the more modern Windows 8 has not found favour with its ‘tiled’ or tablet-focused interface.

Non-Microsoft operating systems present support and training challenges. However, some trusts are clearly looking to cut the costs of running Microsoft software.

One respondent said the reason their organisation had not moved off XP was that “licence costs are too high. Another said the migration would only happen “as and when we can, when money allows.”

The cost of replacing PCs and other hardware also appears to be a barrier. One respondent said that the hardware is “too old to cope” with more modern operating systems.

Others said that legacy systems and current electronic patient record systems would not be able to cope with a new operating system.

A DH spokesperson told EHI last week that the responsibility for IT services “is with trusts” and that they are not required to submit its migration plans to it.

However, one acute trust respondent urged the DH to be stricter and to work with Microsoft and other suppliers to offer trusts plans to migrate.

This view was echoed by a respondent from a GP surgery who said: “Why not implement a coordinated IT strategy and practice to ensure compatibility and secure communication between ALL aspects of the NHS on current, fit for purpose, equipment?”

Subscribe to our newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Sign up

Related News

Harnessing AI and cybersecurity to transform healthcare in the UK

Harnessing AI and cybersecurity to transform healthcare in the UK

The UK healthcare sector is in a transformative era, driven by advancements in artificial intelligence (AI). AI has the potential to revolutionise healthcare by improving…
Digital Maturity Assessment expands into primary care for 2024

Digital Maturity Assessment expands into primary care for 2024

NHS England have confirmed that the 2024 Digital Maturity Assessment is an evolution of last year’s survey and includes an expansion into primary care.
Digital Health Coffee Time Briefing ☕

Digital Health Coffee Time Briefing ☕

This briefing includes ANS supporting the charity Facial Palsy UK by implementing Microsoft's Copilot service and a study around lethal heart rhythms.