UK's HSCIC Wraps Up NHS Open Source Spine Transition

Mark Say | | February 18, 2016

Organisation completes programme to take management of the 'backbone' for connecting systems in-house and move to open source

Work on moving the NHS Spine to in-house management and redeveloping it to run on open source software has been completed, following an 18 month transition project run by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).

The organisation said it believes the Spine, which provides the technological backbone for connections between clinicians and service providers in NHS England, is now the largest public sector IT system to be built entirely on open source, and this will make it easier for developers to work with...Rob Shaw, director of assurance services at HSCIC, said: "The usual practice for a big public sector project like this has been to give the whole thing to a large supplier. We decided that we could manage and make improvements to Spine more flexibly in-house, and have worked with a number of specialist SMEs to successfully deliver our aims.

"The NHS relies on the Spine in order to operate effectively, and we couldn't afford for it to experience long periods of downtime. For this reason we planned the transitions minute by minute to ensure that we would not affect patient care or inconvenience NHS workers any more than was absolutely necessary. In the end we managed the entire transition with just minutes of downtime, none of which was unplanned."...