‘Terms like outsourcing and TUPE can be controversial but there really is no better way to make sure that IT and infrastructure achieves and maintains the necessary standards.’
By BDR Group managing director Malek Rahimi
The last 12 to 18 months have been transformational to say the least. In response to the pandemic, NHS Trusts have had to adopt new technologies on a scale like never before.
Whether it’s simply empowering telephone agents to work remotely and securely or deploying connectivity to pop-up Covid wards, sourcing technology that enables clinicians and service users to get more from NHS services has been paramount.
The NHS recognises the need to drive forward with a digital agenda and to shift focus to further digital integration, as is evidenced by the NHSX remit to ‘lead the transformation of health and social care through digital technology’ but despite this, Trusts appear nervous to move from the status quo.
This slow take up seems to be driven by a lack of confidence in, and potentially knowledge of, the many reliable and easily integrated solutions available which can transform services for patients and staff.
A recent report by National Health Executive magazine showed that only 1% of Trusts reported having a comprehensive level of automation and when questioned about the level of digital confidence in the organisational leadership only 19% of respondents said it was discussed with ‘confidence’ at board level.
This is not really that surprising given the subject matter. Digital technology is evolving at breakneck speed and new products covering everything from cyber security to handling patient records are being released almost on a weekly basis.
So, when it comes to determining your technological needs the logical step is the bring in the experts. Terms like ‘outsourcing’ and ‘TUPE’ can be controversial but there really is no better way to make sure that a Trust’s IT infrastructure achieves and maintains the necessary standards.
BDR has been specialising in creating bespoke IT systems for the Public Sector for over 20 years and since the outbreak of Covid-19, has continued to learn more and more about provisioning for the very specific needs of the NHS.
It has worked with Trusts nationwide to ensure they have the best products and systems in place, but the real trick is to ensure that those systems function correctly and are regularly updated for the long term.
With these experiences in mind, BDR has developed a methodology that combines the institutional knowledge of current IT staff with the massive skill pool within its own teams.
So, where possible, current NHS staff are incorporated into the 200-strong BDR family via a TUPE – Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) – arrangement, blending the irreplaceable experience of the existing team with the capabilities of BDR Group.
It’s already proven to be a winning combination, as the experience of Medway Community Healthcare shows (click here for full case study).
With 1,400+ professional healthcare workers spread across 23 locations, MCH was becoming increasingly constrained by the limitations of its legacy IT infrastructure. Performance and availability were daily concerns but, equally, lack of support for remote and mobile working meant that Medway was unable to provide the kind of agile and responsive healthcare services expected by both staff and patients alike.
BDR teams were able to deliver Virtual Desktop services to over 90% of MCH’s workforce within two weeks of lockdown. This would have been impossible with the limited resources within a typical NHS T team, especially considering it involved re-imaging 1,600 machines and replacing over 400 devices including laptops, PC’s and mobile tablets.
They did, however, lean heavily on the on the experience within the TUPEd staff to make the deployment work. The NHS staff knew the idiosyncrasies of the sites they managed, the day-to-day challenges of staff and their common issues. And that experience was vital to deliver the project in-time and on-budget.
In a nutshell, by folding existing IT staff into the BDR family, the prevailing experience within the much broader team was constantly on hand when designing new solutions.
We know that TUPE arrangements can be controversial, with staff shying away from changing contracts to organisations outside the NHS, but BDR is confident it can illustrate enough benefits to justify the move.
Trusts need the ability to leverage complex technologies more confidently and embrace technology to transform their services. And retargeting funds from back-end admin into frontline clinical services, can onlyenhance their ability to offer a high-quality service to the public.
Find out more about our IT solutions and work with NHS Trusts here.