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Efficient use of second hand technology among Trusts

In order to make the NHS more efficient, I believe there should be a nationwide inventory and sharing scheme for second hand equipment.

Currently, when NHS Trusts replace hardware, especially computing hardware, they typically pass the technology on to be recycled, which simply means it gets broken up for parts and turned into scrap. This is, of course, both inefficient, costly and environmentally unsound. The equipment isn't resold as there are concerns it might contain patient information (these concerns persist even if the harddrive is removed). Fear of litigation prevents sale to third party organisations.

However, with the growing increase in sharing patient information, this is unlikely to be a concern if such technology was passed to other NHS Trusts, which would likely already have access to patient information anyway. As the available technology budget varies from Trust to Trust, and there were reports, in light of the WannaCry scandal, of some Trusts still running Windows XP, an operating system first released in 2001 and received it's last major update in 2014, which not only suggests the software is out-of-date, but the hardware is also. It therefore makes sense in 2019 to pass on second hand technology from one Trust to another, especially given the second hand hardware of some Trusts is likely to be newer than the current hardware of other Trusts.

This means bigger Trusts with surplus second hand equipment can pass on their computer equipment to smaller Trusts and Trusts with smaller IT budgets, which will create a trickle-down effect of IT upgrades. This would save recycling costs for the bigger Trusts, reduce procurement costs for the smaller Trusts, and allow the most obsolete equipment to be phased out of service in a manner that is most environmentally sound. This allows second hand IT equipment, which is in otherwise good condition, to replace far older obsolete hardware, requiring fewer overall costs to both governments and NHS Trusts.

In order to facilitate the transfer of such equipment, a basic nationwide inventory scheme needs to be setup, where Trusts, sugreries etc can sign up, and NHS Trusts with second hand equipment register what type of second hand equipment they have (such as system spec, operating system, quanity, condition etc) on an appropriate database system, which can then be requested by other Trusts looking to procure that technology for use in their own Trusts.

What this should mean is when big Trusts place a large replacement order, the surplus second hand ends up in the hands of much smaller Trusts, allowing smaller organisations to keep within one step of the bigger Trusts. This will make future technology rollouts easier.

Tanveer DHSC 1 month ago

The idea has been progressed to the next milestone.

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