NHS ends enterprise contract with Novell

handshake torn

The Department of Health has decided to divest the health service of some of its enterprise-wide agreements (EWAs) and the latest to fall is Novell.

The Novell EWA was worth 7.5 million per year and will end in October.

The agreement with NHS Connecting For Health (CfH) began in December 2005 to cover identity, desktop and server management.

In a statement, the Department of Health said the decision was in line with current government policy. Last July, a 80m EWA with Microsoft was axed and there are at least eight others in existence with Cisco, EMC, HDS/Hitachi, HP, McAfee, Oracle, SAP (Business Objects), and Sun. Time will tell how many of these will follow policy and come to an end.

"Future investment decisions will be taken at a local level, in line with the proposals set out in the white paper Equity and excellence: Liberating the NHS'," the statement explained.

The decision means the NHS will have to manage its own licensing for Novell and Microsoft products, a move it has said it believes will save money, even though it will not have the leeway that an EWA offers.

"Novell, CfH and NHS trusts are engaged in constructive discussions to ensure ongoing operation of the Novell installed base, following the transfer of contracts to local ownership," the Department of Health reported.

Most EWA agreements allow companies to roll out software as and when needed. Licences can be unlimited or, if capped, are often loosely interpreted. The NHS will no longer have this freedom and will have to put in place a management system to track current and new instances of software packages.