PSN, G-Cloud, Office 365, Azure etc. there are any number of services and providers just waiting to deliver next generation services to the NHS.
N3 has been a blessing and a curse, providing a ubiquitous solution for the safe and secure transfer of patient identifiable data and the delivery of national applications and at the same time, a choke-hold on innovation, flexibility and cost savings. The world has moved on since the N3 contract was introduced and rather than extend or procure more of the same, the NHS has a fantastic opportunity to modernize the way it works. CCG's & PCT Clusters are looking for on-line collaboration tools, Trusts and Health Informatics Services should be looking at the provision of integrated NHS and local authority infrastructure to offer seamless connectivity across the health-care community. We need a new model and cloud computing is one of the answers. Let's have a definitive statement from CFH IG before the event, rather than after for once, and prepare the way for the NHS to adopt 21st century communications services. Doing nothing is not an option.
With all the bad press the NHS currently gets every time we have a breach of IG, can you see us being allowed to put data on a generic server "Somewhere out there"?
With my DBA hat on, I would not be happy to use Windows Azure as I do not have any idea of how robust the hardware and backup procedures are. What if we need to perform a database restore and find out that the backups weren't available because of a power outage somewhere we can't get to?
Keeping our server farms, machine rooms and backup generators in house where we can get to them easily in case we need to institute Business Continuity measures, is a well tested and robust model. As failure on our part could cause deaths, lets leave the unicorns and rainbow stuff to the arty "Design" community. When it has matured and is secure and reliable, in say 10 years, then we can look at moving to the cloud.
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