back to article Whitehall and Microsoft thrashing out 1-year NHS WinXP lifeline

The Department of Health and Microsoft are thrashing out a one-year support deal for tens of thousands of NHS PCs running Windows XP. The agreement would give hospitals, trusts and GPs across England and Wales time to back away from Windows XP and implement a newer operating system. A deal would mean Microsoft continues to …

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Facepalm

The reason so many NHS trusts haven't yet completed (or in some cases, started) their migration from XP is nothing to do with the PC's themselves.

It's the archaic systems they connect to and that are fundamental to the running of GP's surgeries, Primary Care organisations and Acute Trusts.

A lot of the clinical and patient systems are spec'd to run in IE on the desktop - and in some cases that still means IE6 or (at best) 7.

The Trusts can't gamble on using a later version as the systems suppliers can't guarantee that when you save a patient record that it will really happen.

So - it's lazy good-for-nothing PAS suppliers to blame for this putrid stinking mess - mostly.

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Anonymous Coward

Here's how it works outside of the Public Sector.

This needs to work on Win7 / Linux.

What, you say it can't? Well, you fix it, or we find a product that will.

End Of.

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Seen this far to many times in Education, applications that "relied" on IE when in actual fact they relied on an ActiveX control. At least it was a step up from those "application" that were really just Access forms wrapped around some kind of Access runtime .

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Sorry, this is just a case of buck-passing. The fact that the systems still require IE6/7 (both moribund and renouned for bad security) is itself a disgrace. The end of XP has been known for years and those responsible for the back-end systems should have had them upgraded in good time. The NHS has enough financial and political clout to beat up on the PAS suppliers if the new versions are as bad as you say, but this should have been done some time ago not at or after the XP withdrawal deadline.

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Hey - you're singing to the choir here.

To defend the indefensible a little though - part of the reason that all these old systems are in use is that we were told we mustn't spend on them as they'd be replaced by the National Programme for IT systems.

When that (predictably) didn't happen, there has been a semi-panic of trusts either buying new(er) systems (often properly configured version of the ones that failed during the whole NPfIT process) or starting work on updating the old ones. This often also means that the old PAS and clinical systems suppliers lost a lot of highly specialiased staff as NPfIT meant that a lot of them would be losing all their customers shortly, and the ones they had weren't spending anything with them.

But a PAS is a compex system and peoples live depend on it being right - and even where two Trusts run the same PAS, they will use it and have if configured very differently - so the updating, testing, configuring, re-testing process is slow.

Partly due to the budget cuts (more nurses fewer managers actually means fewer back room staff all round, and much less money for new PC's that will actually run anything later than XP) people are trying to do all this reconfiguration with too few staff, while at the same time trying to keep the old creaking systems running.

On top of all that, the government like to meddle, and the whole budgetary and reporting structure has changed 'to put GP's in control' and that mess has to be mopped up by the same people. It's not a good situation - but the people at the coal face are working hard to sort it out, despite what the press may say and what the general public think of this extended support deal.

This deal has not been made because we didn't want to upgrade to Windows7 - it's because we haven't been able to up to now.

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Anonymous Coward

So who would you go to to get this fictional software for your multi million pound cat scanner so you can save $200 on keeping xp for a year, cause I am sure the manufacturers of the very expensive clinical hardware would like to know.

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Boffin

Funding

@Len Goddard - The end of XP has been known for years and those responsible for the back-end systems should have had them upgraded in good time. The NHS has enough financial and political clout to beat up on the PAS suppliers if the new versions are as bad as you say

No, the NHS doesn't have financial clout, it is a misconception that a large funding pot for health means big financial power. Unfortunately, the funding is split up amongst the trusts which are quite small entities. It it also hampered more in the last few years by the austerity measures, which drive tough decisions about what to fund and unsuprisingly they prioritised buying drugs and paying nurses over replacing systems that worked. Imagine the newspaper headlines, say two years ago, if a trust can't give heart transplants because they are replacing IT systems (that work). Like it or not fear of negative reporting (that will deliberately misrepresent the importance of IT support lifecycles) influences a lot of public sector behavour.

For me, the Treasury, Cabinet office and political strategy are more to blame - it is they who should have mandated moving away from XP, and possibly more importantly IE6, much earlier and provided specific funding for migration projects so that it didn't affect core output, acknowledging that wider governmental policy allowed XP and IE6 to become commonplace. It might not sound much but many people in government knew about the end of life, however getting funding approval from the Treasury would be nigh on impossible without it being mandated. The end of XP has been known for years but has been extended before, put yourself in the position of a hospital manager - this year do you upgrade the IT systems OR replace the aging ambulances?

I think it's unfair to blame NHS trusts (quite small in the grand scheme of things) for buying important IT systems that did their job, many years ago, when XP was the de facto standard. The fact that they locked themselves into a particular configuration, simply isn't as important as being able to get the system at a decent price.

I think now, having all of the difficulty with migrating and lock in, government departments are much more aware of the real price of lock-in but when there is limited funding, you can understand a decade ago, health trusts decidng to prioritise healthcare over IT strategy.

That said, I think you make a good point about how government departments should negotiate contracts at the highest level (the parent department or ideally cross government) rather than each individual little sub-body contracting for their stuff themselves. In fairness, the UK government has actually learnt this over the last few years and, as the deal in this story indicates, is trying to place contracts at government level to leverage buying power (and save money in only having one contract negotiation). This is something that didn't happen 10 years ago, and is happening much more now with IT spending. However, in my opinion, it is much more than IT spending that should be rationalised up to the highest level. For instance, each police constabulary buys their vehicles themselves, you could save a lot of money if the Home Office brought police vehicles for all of the forces under one contract, lets face it most of them are exactly the same for each force.

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LDS
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Probably there are also issues with many external hardware devices that has drivers available for XP and never updated to support newer operating sytems. That HW may be critical and very expensive to replace, thereby it was easier to keep an old OS running them.

Sometimes that very hardware is run by monkey-written applications, there were (and there are) a lot of developers who learnt to code under Windows with 3.1 or 95, and never understood how to code properly on Windows NT, 2000 and beyond. But drivers, any application written to run correctly on XP will work with 7 or 8 without changes. Of course if that application was written as if XP was 95, there are good chances it won't.

The issue is the selection process - those in charge of buying equipement usually have no clue about how to select the proper one, and ink deals about long-term support, I would not buy an expensive medical machine designed to last several years if the supplier don't warrant me it will keep its software up to data for the machine expected life. Twenty years ago most of those machines were running on proprietary software and firmware - if they were software-driven, and were not networked. But in the last fifteen-ten years more and more are run by COTS SW/HW but some proprietary parts, and the obsolescence cycle of those COTS systems must be taken into account, especially since everything got networked, it means that systems may be compromised.

Just you need the personnell able to take this decision and manage thos systems the right way - and there's too few.

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LDS
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Select the right supplier from the beginning.

Not always - expensive large systems can be a dreadful lock-in. Look at SAP, for example, how long it hindered companies to upgrade/change their web browser because it stubbornly didn't work with latest versions, or required even more expensive upgrades? Switching from a large, complex ERP is not like switching to a different antivirus.

I've see software that refues to work properly if the OS is not Window NT or 2000, or some older versions of Red Hat, there's also the Java software written to use a specific JRE of Java 1.5... and not updateable because of cost or other factors.

Sometimes you need to select the right supplier from the beginner, or later you may find yourself in the bad situation to spend a lot of money to bring your systems up to data, or to protect them strongly because you can't update them.

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Stop

@lost all faith - "Here's how it works outside of the Public Sector.

This needs to work on Win7 / Linux.

What, you say it can't? Well, you fix it, or we find a product that will.

End Of."

Bear in mind the uk public sector is not allowed to waste money (stop laughing). Take an MRI scanner for an example, what would you like the MRI scanner to do? MRI scans. Good.

Now, compare* - MRI scanner 1 costs £2M, and the supplier will support it for ten years at £50K per year = £2.5M for 10 years;

MRI Scanner 2 costs £4M, and the supplier will support it at a cost of £100k per year = £5M for 10 years.

Both scanners will do the job, so I'm sure you know which one you will buy right? And if you were in charge of a publicly funded budget your answer wouldn't be any different even if it ran ICL COBOL.

The simple fact is that the OS often just isn't the most important thing about the product you need and therefore any extra money you spend getting the OS you want is money that should be spent elsewhere. Especially when departments are having to close core services anyway.

Don't get me wrong I think the OS and core configuration should be seen as more important, lock in is a hidden cost. But I think you are being optimistic about how easy it is to find alternatives that exist and how little it will cost to purchase them. In some parts of government, the number of options for what you want may be very small as the subject area may be very niche and the kit expensive.

* - Disclaimer I have no idea if these are at all realistic costs. Merely numbers, pulled out my ass to serve an example.

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I've a client who deals with a supplier which has the monopoly on its products. No-one else supplies this product and the only way that the client can get said product is via Active-X on IE6.

If the supplier refuses to update (they're an overseas state run industry) then my client is stuffed as they can't move elsewhere. So having clout is no good if the bloke at the other end holds the monopoly.

Now, my client would dearly love to move from IE6 but can't. And no amount of telling them that they have do bloatgrade to Win7 isn't going to help them unless they can bring IE6 with them.

This is Microsoft's fault for not making Internet Explorer backwards compatible before cutting off the old versions at the knees. And remember it was MS which pushed everyone into making Active-X apps in the first place. This is all their doing and they simply don't understand that IT doesn't revolve around each firm being responsible for the code it runs on its own desktops.

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Re: Funding

They should take the N out of NHS, there is nothing National about it, other than the name.

It is a loosely organised amalgamation of semi-competing acute trusts, privately owned companies (GPs included) and other health organisations (mental health, sexual health, ambulance trusts etc), attempting to provide health services within geographical national boundaries of England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland.

"That said, I think you make a good point about how government departments should negotiate contracts at the highest level "

Unfortunately the failure of NPfIT seems to suggest otherwise. It was one aim of NPfIT to provide more purchasing power by amalgamating IT spend within England & Wales, but unfortunately the only real win was a national radiology imaging system. Much of the rest went into the pockets of suppliers, or, like Fujitsu, forced suppliers out of the market by being too punitive.

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Re: Funding

@JurassicPark - "Unfortunately the failure of NPfIT seems to suggest otherwise. It was one aim of NPfIT to provide more purchasing power by amalgamating IT spend within England & Wales, but unfortunately the only real win was a national radiology imaging system."

That's a fair point but I'm aware there are other initiatives which work well to drive better returns. The government only recently realised that if it negotiated with Oracle as a whole government rather than multiples on a small level it could leverage much better rates on licences (used by across all departments to varying degrees). It makes sense to do this for Oracle and Microsoft and large suppliers of standard software but other software is much more difficult as the requirements probably vary much more between departments perhaps that was a problem with NPflT

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Funding

"That said, I think you make a good point about how government departments should negotiate contracts at the highest level (the parent department or ideally cross government) rather than each individual little sub-body contracting for their stuff themselves. In fairness, the UK government has actually learnt this over the last few years and, as the deal in this story indicates, is trying to place contracts at government level to leverage buying power (and save money in only having one contract negotiation)"

And yet the very first thing this current government did was cancel the NHS EWA with Microsoft so that they could say they'd saved £x million per annum ... but didn't mention that Microsoft licensing is now costing the NHS £y million p.a. (where y > x) because each organisation has to now separately keep track of how many PCs they have and what versions of software they're using on them all.

(AC because I'm now spending a disproportionate amount of my time doing exactly that on behalf of several organisations)

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Linux

A Travesty

> So - it's lazy good-for-nothing PAS suppliers to blame for this putrid stinking mess - mostly.

Wait, some idiot in the NHS must have approved the idea of purchasing crappy IE based and other proprietary Windoze based software to begin with. That's where the blame lies.

1. The NHS shouldn't be using Windoze full stop. It's a malware magnet.

2. They definitely shouldn't be using IE or any other non-standard and proprietary web platform.

If they continue using MS software, which is inevitable considering our government loves to choose the most expensive solutions, then when it comes time to replace XP, they'll have to replace every single PC. That's going to be one hell of a bonanza for Micro$haft and its avaricious resellers.

It's such a sad situation because all those XP machines could be repurposed for GNU/Linux and given a new lease of life. It would save millions. But as we know government isn't interested in saving money unless it involves stripping citizens of essential services and welfare.

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Re: Select the right supplier from the beginning. @LDS

"Sometimes you need to select the right supplier from the beginner, or later you may find yourself in the bad situation to spend a lot of money to bring your systems up to data"

Very easy to say, very difficult to put into practise.

Many 'reputable' ERP vendors suddenly discovered problems with their systems when the UK Vat rate changed a few years back. The main causes of the problem was down to daft programming associated with the assumption that VAT rates won't/don't change either at all or during a tax or financial year...

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Re: The reason so many NHS trusts haven't yet completed... @Dr Dre

Also we shouldn't overlook a rather important event a few years back. When many would of expected to begin their desktop refresh back in 2008, Windows 7 was still in the future and the financial crash was happening all a round us, with the UK government becoming particularly exposed due to the size of the tax receipts financial services contributed. Since then the mantra in government has been to avoid non-essential spending, so given that XP wasn't due to go end-of-life for a few years a desktop refresh wouldn't of been a priority project - in any government department. Obviously with the financial squeeze continuing (and we can expect it to last well into the 2020-25 government), the project has remained a low priority and hence been largely forgotten until now...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A Travesty

_1. The NHS shouldn't be using Windoze full stop. It's a malware magnet._

We had no choice in the matter. It was pushed down to us by accountants who liked it to run their spreadsheets in between golf games with the suppliers.

_2. They definitely shouldn't be using IE or any other non-standard and proprietary web platform._

See Previous item.

When I was interviewed for my first NHS IT job, they were on DOS and Netware with Windows 3.x creeping in. I was asked about my opinions about software security and Windows NT. I said that the two had nothing to do with each other. I explained why and this caused great amusement and I got the job. I then watched it pushed in by the impressively uninformed, but highly paid, people at the Ministry of Silly Ideas in a reclaimed swamp somewhere in the remote south east of the UK.

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XP is still a ticking timebomb

It is a disgrace, but I have first hand experience of similar problems in engineering & the Charity sector. I've even seen examples of "new" browser based software that requires IE8 to function properly.

To be fair to Microsoft they have improved Security & Reliablity over the years. However dumb down the ability to right software by introducing tools such as Visual Basic & you end up with muppets writing critical applications*, vendors get the cheapest coders they can & bolt some software to a product or service. Windows XP should not have being introduced to add compatibilty that Windows 2000 lacked as this opened the floodgates for a production line of medicore insecure software to continue.

*Thats not to say all VB coders are muppets just that it makes it easier for muppets to be coders :)

The amount of Money the NHS are spending couldnt they just bypass Microsoft and build a great big XP firewall, virtualise legacy apps & go to new suppilers that can provide decent software that is platform neutral?

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"Here's how it works outside of the Public Sector.

This needs to work on Win7 / Linux."

I wish. The main requirement is "This needs to work on Windows / iOS".

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Re: A Travesty

"> So - it's lazy good-for-nothing PAS suppliers to blame for this putrid stinking mess - mostly."

All of the PAS systems I've worked on have been Unix based and use green screens for access. You must have got some shiny new software if its working on Windows.

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Happy

Re: A Travesty

Here's a quick resume of the problem here.

1. The NHS has to justify everything it spends our money on. To a very great extent, public services have to do that much, if only to make sure that they don't lose their future budgets, but the NHS is more high profile than, say, a local authority trying to maintain a rubbish collection or monitor a public health breach.

2. There has been, despite lip service to the contrary, a notable lock-in mentality with the Government with Microsoft operating environments over many years. This is sometimes due to point 3 below.

3. User ignorance of GNU/Linux (or any other operating environment, for that matter) is not an unusual occurrance.

4. Software and hardware companies will often provide systems that will not upgrade easily, if at all. In some cases this is due to ignorance, in other cases laziness, in yet others it is used as a way to push sales of new systems.

5. Corporates don't give a toss unless you are prepared to throw money at them, regardless of who you are. The only other way they tend to shift is when public humiliation could cause a serious dent in their cashflow, but that's less common since corporates are big enough to hide such things to a great extent.

6. People are too eager to jump from old to new systems because some marketing shill tells them to, either by promising improvement or threatening degradation. While they aren't always wrong, the motive is more likely to be monetary and often the resulting situation matching the marketing hype is a matter of coincidence.

Am I being too cynical here?

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Re: A Travesty

Tyrion, I was 100% with you until your last sentence, which was the usual left-wing, populist drivel I read so much of on the Internet these days.

It's funny that most of the people that moan to me about being screwed over by the Government and having to resort to food banks still seem to find the money for Sky TV subscriptions, high end mobile phones and tobacco/cannabis.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A Travesty

"It's funny that most of the people that moan to me about being screwed over by the Government and having to resort to food banks still seem to find the money for Sky TV subscriptions, high end mobile phones and tobacco/cannabis."

Just because you say something, doesn't make it true.

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Anonymous Coward

Go back to 2003 when many of these systems were proposed.

Look at the capabilities of web browsers back then.

You can't apply 2014 open source and cross platform ideology to a 11 year old system.

Bear in mind that even some of the government's own sites needed IE initially (due to the clueless technophobe Blair calling in bill Gates to help with IE).

It's not a case of quickly hacking the sites to work on Chrome or Firefox, it's a legacy system that needs to work 100% reliably not 90%. It's an NHS system and you can't afford mistakes due to the lawsuits and compensation that would follow.

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Anonymous Coward

They should never have used a browser at all if they were going to need to use ActiveX or browser plugins.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A Travesty

Find me the Linux distro and browser that gets a long amount of support, running to 13 years!

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@JurassicPark

Just because NPfiT was a massive cock-up (let's throw more money at Accenture, et al.!), doesn't mean that it had to be.

Whilst I was quite glad to see the back of it, I don't think that it was a bad idea in principle, just very poorly handled.

As for green screens and UNIX-based PAS systems, they went out of fashion at the turn of the century (see, it's cutting edge in the NHS!).

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Dr Dre

Sad, hurry up or you might end up reaching W7 EOL before you managed to upgrade the last box ... this shit takes a considerable amount of time to do right, especially if a million PC's are involved.

Have fun training staff to w7 ui ...

Keep in mind that, had you guyz had ANY CLUE or least listened, you would have gone the web standards route, like many of us freetards TOLD YOU as early as 2000 - but no, IE5/IE6 is standard, fingers in ears and lalalalalala - if you were a private business, I would not care, but you are spending taxpayers cash there, thank you very much !

If you had had Linux boxen, they would all be running latest kernel and patches on same hardware, same ui, same everything ... and you would wait for the hw to die ....

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Re: Funding

Taking the HS out of it too, would be an excellent idea - the NHS doesn't give a flying fuck about your health. Okay, if you're hurt in an accident, then fine, but on a general, day-to-day basis…? It's just the UK sales and distribution arm of Big Pharma Worldwide, plc. Your GP is nowt more than a sales rep, need students are STILL being taught myths which were thoroughly debunked, discredited and exploded in the early/mid-'80s, as fact, and the NHS REFUSES to alter its dietary policy, despite OVERWHELMING evidence that it's WRONG.

I'm sorry, but the NHS is NOT a 'health service'; it MAY have been at some point, but it sure as hell ain't now.

If there's anyone here on statins, you'll want to read this: - http://www.drmalcolmkendrick.org. Still think avoiding fat is healthy…? Read this: - http://www.dietdoctor.com/FAQ.

I don't trust the NHS anymore. Neither should you…

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Silver badge

@Hans 1 - "Keep in mind that, had you guyz had ANY CLUE or least listened, you would have gone the web standards route, like many of us freetards TOLD YOU as early as 2000 "

I suggest you read up on your history - voices with much more clout than a bunch of techie freetards made the case for Open Systems back in the 1980's.

It was a political decision (probably heavily influenced by lobbying and party political ideas on 'market forces') to effectively remove the requirement for Open Systems commitments etc. in government procurement in the late 1980's. The result of this decision was the side lining of the CCTA in IT procurement and the effective abandonment of UK GOSIP.

Additionally, we have seen an increased focus on cost in government procurement, which also has served to further sideline anything that may increase the initial cost of IT systems.

So yes to some extent many of the current difficulties with government IT are self inflicted, however as the Cabinet Office has been discovering: bringing back a focus on Open Standards has been and is non-trivial. Mind you part of the problem has been getting the Cabinet Office to understand that Open Standards are not the same as and are far more important than open source...

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"Keep in mind that, had you guyz had ANY CLUE or least listened, you would have gone the web standards route, like many of us freetards TOLD YOU as early as 2000"

I was busy pushing options other than MS long before 2000 laddy. Some of us have been in this game a long time, and the errors and problems you are seeing are because of a political decision , taken years ago - not because those of us responsible for the strategic direction of IT in the public sector were keen on Windows.

Our advice was ignored by our masters - and it has always been thus.

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FAIL

What XP Support ending?

Why have they not told anyone? I wasn't aware and I'm important! Quick PANIC!

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Silver badge

Yeah, because the hospitals have installed all of the patches they already have....riiight.

And if one of the patches breaks a clinical app which "requires" XP, does the app vendor get copies of the patches for testing or will they need their own agreement?

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Nice to see...

How nice to see my monthly NI contributions ending up lining MS's pockets.

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Re: Nice to see...

"How nice to see my monthly NI contributions being pissed away by the NHS's army of management imbeciles"

FTFY.

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Re: Nice to see...

What on earth makes you think that N.I. payments go anywhere near the NHS??

I bet you think the Road Fund Licence goes to the councils for maintenance, as well, don't you?

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Re: Nice to see...

Umm... yes, that was my point...

sigh.

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Anonymous Coward

Not a very good negotiating tactic...

...to wait until mere days before a product becomes end of life, to go and discuss with supplier extended support. They rather have you over a barrel at that point.

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I suspect it was excellent tactics

Imagine the choices a year ago:

Option A) Get fired for going £30 million over budget.

Option B) Get promoted for being on budget and make it someone else's problem next year.

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Someone needs to get sacked for this fiasco.

Not bonuses and trebles all round.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Someone needs to get sacked for this fiasco.

Not just someone.

Lot's of people.

Bear in mind that the indecision that has resulted in (much of) the NHS not upgrading has not been made by a single person in a one large organisation.

Each trust that hasn't upgraded are responsible for this, so somebody in each and every trust must surely be responsible? ICT Director maybe?

That said, I'd be amazed if a single disciplinary occurred.

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Re: Someone needs to get sacked for this fiasco.

Some need to go to Jail. There as been a lot of campaigning to educate the Public Sector over many years. After getting an education on how to avoid lock-in and move to open standards many decison makers allowed themselves to move to vendor lock-in hell (Look at the introduction of Sharepoint in many Councils as a good example)

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Silver badge

Is there evidence that £30 million is a saving?

The NHS may have a million PC's, but they will be a mixture of XP, Vista, 7, 8 and possibly one or two Linux boxes. I do not know if there are more than 150,000 XP machines that would be difficult to update. I am sure that getting all the other software ported to Windows 8 is expected to cost £30,100,000 this year or about £60,000,000 next year.

I expect Microsoft's price next year will be competitive. That way they can take another year's funding that might otherwise go to third party Windows developers.

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Roo
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"Equally, setting a one-year limit on the NHS deal is important to force health-service organisations to get off Windows XP."

That statement and reality are poles apart.

Those same health-service organisations had several years notice that XP was due to be End-of-Lifed, yet they failed to migrate away from it, there is no reason to believe that they will migrate away from XP within the next 12 months either.

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Anonymous Coward

you want End of Life?

"Continue to support the operating system we rely on - for whatever reason, we do rely on it - or alternatively MS employees, relatives or other MS customers can't come to the NHS for any healthcare needs without paying a fee up-front" ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

Easy to blame

It seems easy to blame 'The NHS', the difficulty is that there really doesn't seem to be 'an NHS' there seems to be a group of independent organizations, trusts, hospitals, university hospitals, practices etc that are all responsible for their own IT wants and requirements and the integration of this into whatever special systems a particular establishment wants to use or be known for. If they have no money or vision or will to move forward then they don't and no-one will critisise them for that as they are independent. Yet when the gov tries to take over and make a centrally controlled system then they get hammered for interfering. At the front line of this are some dedicated and hardworking individuals (and some seat polishers I am sure) but no one wants to give them credit for trying to get off xp and onto a different platform arguing against the slings and arrows of 'it works so you don't need more money or time to look into other options' until the very last minute.

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Childcatcher

It's too early

The Department of Health and Microsoft...

I need more caffeine! My first thought when I read that was, "Why would both of those fall under the same department?"

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To be honest, its an absolute outrage they will be wasting 30 - 40 million on this, when they have known for years its coming. Had they started the process sooner there would be no need for this waste of money and don't forget time negotiating this, to then have to do the same work anyway you could have done earlier. Mind you, I guess that keeps a fair few mangers in jobs.

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