Hospital merger of IT departments

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SCARBOROUGH Hospital’s link-up with York has moved a step closer with plans to integrate the hospitals’ IT departments.

The matter came under discussion at the quarterly trust board meeting at Scarborough Hospital on Tuesday.

The hospital are planning to join forces after it was decided that Scarborough would not meet Government requirements to become a Foundation Trust on its own.

In a report by chief executive Mike Proctor, it states that the creation of a single IT infrastructure will be “one of the most important foundations of a successful acquisition”.

Plans to merge the departments are now under way, but bosses say this is in the very early stages and too soon to say how staffing levels will be affected.

However it was made clear that there will still be IT staff working at Scarborough Hospital.

Finance director Bernard Chalk, who presented the report in Mr Proctor’s absence, said: “Everybody recognises that the NHS needs to save money.

“We need to grasp the opportunity to integrate services where possible, especially back office functions.

“As we move closer to working with York, we need to be able to transfer data between sites more easily.

“This will move us forward in terms of efficiency.”

The first phase of integration will focus on issues such as:

l making phone calls between Scarborough and York Hospitals free of charge

l allowing staff to log on to the system at both sites

l sharing emails and calendars

l increased use of telephone and video conferencing between sites.

Desktop sharing and instant messaging have also been highlighted as a way of making communication easier between staff at York and Scarborough.

Mike Proctor said: “Future phases will focus on the need to share clinical information across the hospital sites and with colleagues in other health and social care sectors.

“The potential afforded by these changes give York and Scarborough some really exciting opportunities.”

During the meeting, a general update on progress with the link-up was given by trust board chairman Sir Michael Carlisle.

He said: “The integration is proceeding very well indeed with engagement at every level of the organisation.

“I’m very pleased to see this is happening in clinical areas, which is the most important part, with clinicians in healthy dialogue across the patch.”