Leeds hospitals IT spending soars

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Hospitals in Leeds are increase spending on upgrading computers to £1m a year.

Managers at the city’s hospitals trust have agreed to the investment to ensure their IT network is kept up-to-date.

However they will look at whether outsourcing part of the scheme would be feasible.

In 2009, hospital heads agreed to a £250,000 annual budget for upgrading their IT infrastructure.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has a network of nearly 10,000 personal computers and laptops in total and almost 4,000 printers.

Since the current budget was approved in 2009, 1,750 PCs have been replaced to ensure they meet the specifications for new systems being used, such as for patient records and test results.

However, analysis has shown that if the hospitals trust policy is to replace all computers over three years old, the current budget is not enough and many PCs will not meet minimum standards.

A report to hospital directors said: “There are still approximately 3,000 PCs within the trust which are reaching ‘end of life’, the cost of replacement would be in the region of £700,000 to £1m. The funding for this is available within the existing Informatics Capital Programme.”

It added that not replacing this equipment could create a serious risk to the hospital trust’s “ability to operate effectively”.

At a meeting of the trust’s board of directors, director of informatics Alison Dailly said they needed to make sure that their IT kit was up-to-date.

She added that they were at the point now where the previous budget set aside for upgrading equipment was not enough as the previous allocation had been spent.

“We therefore want to ensure that everything is upgraded appropriately,” she said. “What we are looking at is £1m per annum to provide a rolling programme. That’s not to say in the future we would not come back to the board and say that we are going down a different road to that.”

Mrs Dailly was quizzed about the possibility of outsourcing and said it had been looked at but was not deemed appropriate. Board members agreed the investment but asked for outsourcing to be looked at.

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