What part have you been playing in the National Programme for IT (NPfIT)?

We have 5,000 users on three sites here at Buckinghamshire Hospitals NHS Trust, with an IT team of over 40.

We are one of the very first adopters of the new NHS Care Records System (CRS). To make that work as effectively as possible, we’ve been concentrating on achieving IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) status and revolutionised our whole service management and support functions. It has involved a lot of technology and business change to get ready for CRS, but we have made it on time.

What steps did you need to take?

We are part of the Southern Cluster, where the Local Service Provider is Fujitsu Services. We thought it would make more sense and cut out time delays if we talked regularly and directly with Fujitsu. One of the stipulations from Connecting for Health – the body that is steering the NPfIT – is that the NHS organisation has to have achieved ITIL service management status, so we had to do that.

Was that a challenge?

Well, we were starting from a help desk that wasn’t really a help desk – it was a call-logging system, a long way from the full service management approach. We had a lot of work to do to get to seamless ticketing, where we can quickly escalate support calls to Fujitsu. This started in July 2005 with a major internal review. We looked at our processes and what needed to be done and, in early 2006, brought in Hornbill Supportworks software as a service management framework.

How have things developed?

We implemented the system relatively quickly and I’m very glad to say we met the original deadline for go-live with CRS, which was September last year.

The software has worked very well but there have been some change management issues. We’ve had to educate the users that the old way of getting support – harassing the engineer on his mobile – no longer works. That’s gone well and we’ve had a 30 per cent increase in successful support calls.

Would you deem the project a success overall?

Let’s put it like this: before this system we were reaching 30 per cent of our support SLAs. Now it’s up in the 90s. Users get to talk to someone about their problems in a matter of seconds. The IT service desk is able to handle calls and has more time to deal with second and third-line support. It also enables an IT overview of what is going on in other departments.

What’s next for your team?

We have a long way to go. We want to build a complete configuration management database so we get a more complete picture of what we possess, rather than a normal asset management system.