Microsoft says Scottish NHS must curb IT spend

Unusual advice from a vendor

Scotland's Health Service is wasting money by buying its IT infrastructure in small pieces, rather than signing one mega-deal that would reduce its costs, according to Gordon McKenzie, Microsoft's ex-sales director for Scotland.

He slammed Scottish authorities, saying that there was no plan for convergence of systems within the heath services, The Scotsman reports. according to McKenzie, NHS Scotland's fractured approach to buying means it will end up paying four times as much for its infrastructure as its counterpart in England, and that Microsoft was "making more money out of the mess".

The English NHS has a nine-year deal with Microsoft, covering desktop software licences for 900,000.

McKenzie was sales director of Microsoft Scotland for five years, until his recent promotion to European sales director for local government.

He told The Scotsman: "I would sooner see Scotland pay less. We are not about short-term revenue, but being a leader with a solution. I would rather go to other countries in Europe and say that we have efficient government in Scotland."

He compared the Scottish Heath Structure with the similarly-sized Royal Bank of Scotland: "Royal Bank of Scotland has 100,000 employees and one IT system...[but] there are 14 NHS trusts and even within each trust there may be four different systems. They even have different email systems."

However, the Scottish Executive says it is working to update its purchasing procedures. A spokeswoman said: "As part of NHS Scotland’s modernisation agenda, the Best Procurement Implementation Programme was launched in the autumn of 2003. One of the most important initiatives is introduction of eProcurement by all NHS boards and Special Health Boards." ®

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