All NHS hospitals, health centres and GP surgeries in Worcestershire will receive IT support from independent provider Computacenter as part of a five-year agreement worth up to £18 million.

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust and Worcestershire’s three clinical commissioning groups have all agreed to a contract that will see Computacenter manage IT improvements at more than 160 sites, including eight hospitals and 66 GP practices.

Computacenter did not confirm the specific value of the deal, but referred Digital Health News to the original notice in the Official Journal of the European Union, which valued the contract at £12 million to £18 million for five years.

The contract covers remote and desk-side support and Computacenter will be responsible for maintaining the core IT infrastructure at all sites, which boasts 500 servers and 600 terabytes of storage.

The service went live on 1 December 2014 and will be rolled out across all sites in 2015.

In addition to providing IT support, Computacentre will provide IT transformation initiatives in the area. This includes plans to provide enhanced connectivity for GP surgeries and to implement “unified communications” for community and mental health workers.

The company will also help transform data centre operations for Worcestershire’s healthcare services by consolidating the server and storage infrastructure and updating the system to prevent outages of clinical applications.

Most NHS organisations handle IT support in-house but several have decided to outsource services to companies like Computacenter.

This includes NHS Oldham CCG, which in 2010 said it managed to save £41,000 from its annual energy costs thanks to energy efficient IT solutions built in partnership with the company as part of a £650,000 a year deal.

Computacenter has also worked with East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust to design, implement and support a video-conferencing system that allows clinicians at the trust’s three acute hospitals to share images from the hospital’s picture archiving and communications system.

Colin Innes, head of IT for Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, said: “Like any NHS organisation, we are being challenged to deliver more services with limited resources.

"By modernising our ICT services and systems, we will be able to deliver better outcomes by achieving greater efficiencies.”

James Longmore, ICT director for Worcestershire Acute Hospitals, added: “The new shared ICT services contract will enable us to improve efficiency, patient safety and health outcomes by minimising ICT downtime and disruption for clinical and administrative staff.”