NHS Wales goes all in with Microsoft 365

Tech giant to give Welsh hospital staff access to its enterprise apps such as Outlook and Teams

NHS Wales

Every NHS Wales worker will be given access to Microsoft's enterprise programs such as Outlook and Teams, aiding digital transformation in Britain's healthcare system.

As part of a country-wide focus on digital transformation, more than 100,000 NHS employees, including GPs, consultants, nurses, therapists, paramedics and support staff, will have access to Microsoft 365.

This will include Outlook, Teams, OneDrive, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, SharePoint and Yammer and will be available to staff on multiple devices, such as phones, tablets and laptops.

According to Microsoft, the move is expected to help NHS staff save money and time by not having to travel to face-to-face meetings, freeing them up to focus on patients who need the most help.

"This new national agreement is part of our commitment to refresh NHS Wales IT infrastructure and ensure it supports the transformational changes taking place across health and social care," said Andrew Griffiths, director of NHS Wales Informatics Service. "It moves our digital estate away from locally managed services and into cloud-based services, delivering efficiencies and economies of scale.

"Frontline staff who work in our health and care services rely on technology, to help them deliver services in new, innovative ways that put the needs of patients first. I am very pleased that we are able to deliver the most up to date tools to our NHS Wales staff to help them with the fantastic work they do every day."

This is not the first deal Microsoft has gone into with the Welsh public sector. In March, the country became one of the first in the world to give all local authority schools access to Microsoft 365.

The Welsh government paid for all 1,521 "maintained" schools to have access to Microsoft programs in a bid to boost the use of technology among pupils and reduce costs for families and headteachers, as part of the 1.2 million investment.

The agreement with NHS Wales will see Microsoft migrate all its digital estate from locally managed services to a cloud-based service, which has potential risks, particularly for an organisation as large as NHS Wales. As an example of what can go wrong, TSB bank spent the majority of 2018 fixing a botched IT upgrade than cost it almost 100 million.

Then there is the risk of outside threats, similar to the WannaCry attacks. According to Microsoft, the deal also includes an upgrade to Windows 10 E5, which comes with cutting-edge security features to prevent, detect, investigate and respond to potential risks.

"It's essential that NHS Wales has secure systems that health staff and patients trust and this agreement will help achieve that," Griffiths added. "It will increase resilience and mean our services are running on the most up-to-date operating system at all times."

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