NHS delves deeper into virtualisation

Stethoscope on a keyboard

The NHS is ramping up its virtualisation efforts by signing a new agreement to implement more VMware products into its IT systems.

Three of the six NHS IT procurement hubs in the UK have done a deal with Computacenter to deliver the virtualisation portfolio, meaning up to 247 NHS Trusts could adopt the technology.

Chris Price, director of public sector at Computacenter UK, said: “The agreement between Computacenter, VMware and the purchasing organisations will allow transformation of IT within the NHS, making shared services, resources and management easier and more cost effective.”

“All customers, but most notably in the public sector, are being asked to do more with less and this agreement will put consolidation and innovation within reach of more healthcare bodies than ever before.”

The scheme is headed up by the NHS Commercial Procurement Collaborative (CPC), working alongside the NHS Shared Business Services’ procurement arm (NHS SBS Commercial Procurement Solutions), London Procurement Programme and the NHS resource procurement hub.

“Virtualisation technology is becoming an increasingly popular option across the NHS and there was demand from our members to facilitate cost effective access to this technology,” added Steve Sercombe, senior category manager of corporate services at the NHS CPC.

“Through our deal with Computacenter, we are able to support the adoption of virtualisation technology within the NHS and offer Trusts the option to buy VMware products more cost effectively and in a consolidated fashion.”

The initial contract is for two years, with the option of extending it by 12 months if deemed successful.

This latest move towards virtualisation follows the flagship example of Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust, which is now 90 per cent virtualised.

The chief information officer (CIO) of the hospital, Dr Zafar Chaudry, praised the new agreement and sang the praises of what virtualisation had done for his organisation.

“We have been using VMware for years with great success and have made significant savings as a result of virtualising, including a 75 per cent decrease in our power costs.”

“Aside from the impressive cost benefits, virtualisation also means our IT is far more simplified and we’re a far more agile organisation.”

He concluded: “By moving our IT infrastructure into the cloud using the virtualized platform, we will soon be able to offer IT as a service to other NHS Trusts, pooling resources to further reduce the government’s IT spend.”

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.