Implementation of network for county council and NHS prompts forecast of £3 million savings over five years
Staffordshire County Council has said it is on course to find substantial savings and improve the local integration of care services with the wide area network (WAN) it implemented last year.
It set up the network in a partnership with the Staffordshire and Shropshire Health Informatics Service (SSHIS) to link council and NHS services in the county.
It provided connections for all eight of the local borough and district councils, 310 NHS organisations and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue, extending to more than 30,000 workers across more than 500 sites.
The council has now said the move is providing savings of about £3 million over a five-year period, and giving its workers and those from NHS bodies the ability to access Wi-Fi in each other’s buildings.
Mike Sutherland, the council’s cabinet member for finance, said: “Working together to share services wherever possible means we get the best value we can for taxpayers.
“So far our collaboration is saving taxpayers around £3 million over five years and we anticipate further savings as we prepare to halve the number of data centres currently in use by sharing this infrastructure.”
Jean Deaville, director of finance and performance at SSHIS, said the network, which was supplied by KCom, offers the organisations flexibility for future digital integration.
“This has been a complex process, but the successful collaboration means we can explore other opportunities to share systems and resources, and save taxpayers’ money which can be spent on frontline services,” she said.
There had been earlier moves towards some integration of health and social care systems in Staffordshire. Some years ago the council moved its delivery of adult social care to a health trust and gave the employees access to its social care case management system.
It has also moved its telephony to a platform provided by the health service, and the two sides are procuring an integrated care record as past of the local Sustainability and Transformation Programme.
A spokesperson for the council said the WAN will support the integration of disparate records into the integrated record and provide access to employees as defined by the information sharing agreements.
He added that there could be potential to extend the network further.
“Inevitably most organisations are consolidating their estates, but other public sector or government agencies could be included moving forwards,” he said.
Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0