IBM stays healthy

19 Aug 2003

A week after winning a deal to overhaul the Northern Ireland Health Service, IBM has revealed that it has signed a new contract with the Republic’s Irish Health Service to provide the hardware and technology that will underpin the next phase of the Health Service’s National Human Resource and Payroll programme (PPARS).

Developed under the work programme of The Health Boards Executive, PPARS is the human resource information system of the Irish Health Service, which has been managed centrally by IBM for the past four years.

“By building on our existing relationship with IBM in Ireland we have developed a solution that will allow us to extend the role of the PPARS system to all Health Board employees more effectively,” said Tony Reilly, national projects director for the Health Services.

“Manpower planning and staff development are essential requirements, particularly in the context of key skill shortages and the successful implementation of PPARS means we can work more effectively with these core issues.”

The first phase of the project, covering core personnel records, has already been implemented with the support of IBM. Rollout of phase two of the project – comprising staff, time management, scheduling and payroll – is under way at Dublin’s St James’s Hospital and is scheduled to go live in 2003.

Implementation across the rest of the country’s health boards will continue until 2005, when work will commence on the remainder of the sector. The rollout will be funded under the recently announced Health Services Reform Programme.

It is understood that the entire system will run on SAP enterprise resource planning technology, and a national project office has been established in Sligo.

IBM will be managing a high availability system comprising of a cluster of IBM P-Series and X-Series servers, the first within Irish Health Authorities. The system is designed to maximise online availability and reduce the impact of hardware failures by providing a 24/7-support service. IBM will also provide the PPARS system with a disaster recovery service at a separate location from its main data centre.

By John Kennedy