BT in stg£20m Northern Ireland healthcare transformation deal

21 May 2012

Peter Russell, BT's head of Public Sector and Major Accounts in NI, and Paul Duffy, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.

BT has won a stg£20m contract to be the sole supplier of voice and data communications to Belfast Health and Social Care Trust in a five-year contract to transform healthcare provision.

As part of the deal, BT will provide around 17,000 users with innovative communications technology and an infrastructure that will support the re-provisioning of healthcare across Northern Ireland.

BT won the tender with a two-phased strategy that will deliver IP telephony and a suite of unified communication and collaboration capabilities within 18 months.

As part of the plan, Microsoft Lync is being rolled out to 10,000 users, a suite of tools that will transform the way healthcare workers communicate and share information through the use of voice, video, instant messaging and presence technology.

In the first phase, BT will assume its role as single supplier, consolidating voice and data services and ensuring a consistent quality of service across all of the trust.

Upgrading a wireless infrastructure is also a priority, bringing radio and paging services on to an IP network. In another project, BT will upgrade the trust network work with partner Novosco, to ensure appropriate bandwidth is available to all of the trust’s 110 sites.

“We chose BT to develop our next generation of voice and data communications services that will greatly enhance healthcare services to our 340,000 patients and clients,” Paul Duffy, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, said.

In the longer-term there are plans to extend a medical asset tracking application over the wireless network, and even the possibility of making unified communications available across the Health and Social Care Trust and potentially to patients in their homes, connecting them to their carers more quickly and efficiently.

Transforming healthcare

The recently published Compton Review of Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland ‘Transforming Your Care,’ outlined the need to push care into the community, a strategy that will require the effective use of communications infrastructure to work. BT’s ability to deliver on this vision and also drive significant cost efficiencies was key to winning the contract.

“BT has been working with the National Health Service in the UK for many years, building a long-term relationship based on understanding the challenges and objectives around healthcare,” explained Peter Russell, head of BT’s NI Public Sector and Major Accounts.

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to work in partnership with the Belfast Trust, bringing the very latest communications technologies to bear that will over time hopefully transform the way healthcare is provided in Northern Ireland.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years