Re: Playing the long game.
"5) Start with a cost-benefit analysis of each app in use. If you can't justify the cost, it goes.
So what cost-benefit do you place on saving a life? 'X bit of kit only saved 2 lives last year - bin it'?"
Firstly: Fair question - but you are asking the wrong person, ask the NHS trusts.
Secondly: NHS Trusts have to make that kind of call all the time, as you well know they don't have infinite resources to throw at making everyone well all the time.
Thirdly: Cost-benefit analysis is not a synonym for getting rid of stuff that makes lives easier. In fact if it's done correctly and the decisions made are rational it should actually *improve* the situation, at the worst you'll find out that you've done as well as you can and nothing needs to change. ;)
"Um... Wouldn't this break various laws? Just because it's not supported on Win7 or Linux means it's ok to reverse engineer it?"
Depends on where you are working, the EU tends to view reverse engineering as a legitimate activity. Also keep in mind that I was responding to a post about software that isn't supported and the vendor is either not interested or not around any more. In those circumstances, I think that is perfectly OK to reverse engineer it.
"So, my Trust has a dev team as you suggest, in collaboration with every other trust we re-write everything we need to it's all open source."
I am not advocating rewriting *everything* in-house and open sourcing it, so that straw man can screw itself and the post that it rode in on.
"Pay them >=2x the graddy salary contract style on a 3 month rolling basis" idea would never happen unless you were happy to cut staff elsewhere."
The software is not going to be migrated by magic. At some point folks are going to have to do some work, and the chances are they won't work for free. So you have a simple choice of developing in house (pay salaries) or outsource the work (pay salaries + vendor's profit margin).
While paying 2x the going rate seems a bit generous, most undergrads & recent grads are paid sweet f.a, so 2x of f.a. isn't actually that much and it also will attract a bigger and better pool of candidates to select from.
Ultimately it depends on whether getting the job done is more important than keeping the headcount down. Either way you're going to spend money - and most likely more money if you pay a vendor for the work.
"Try working in the sector, using spit and baling wire to hold ropey systems together because there just isn't anything else that does the job."
I've found plenty of workplaces outside of the NHS where the only materials to hand are spit and bailing wire. It's not a problem unique to the NHS. For the record both my parents worked in and around the NHS for the majority of their careers, I chose not to because I figured there was no future for a developer in the NHS...
"we know it's not sustainable but whos life do you want to make that little bit worse by deciding X system is not worth running anymore?"
You know it is not sustainable but you are not prepared to change the way you work, stress, misery and failure is inevitable with that approach.
I don't want to make anyone's life worse, but equally I see the status quo is making lives worse, and I see nothing to suggest that peoples lives will get any better in the future as a result of continuing to run unsupported software on end-of-lifed platforms.