UCLH CIO James Thomas on unified communications

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As he sought election, David Cameron spoke of his parents’ approach to public service and the difference they made. Meeting the ICT Director of University College London Hospital (UCLH) James Thomas­ is to meet a CIO who has dedicated his own unique skillsets to make the NHS in this country better and play a part in the “big society”.

UCLH is a model of how well the NHS works in the trusts that are really making a difference. Its new hospital complex on the corner of Warren Street and Euston Road in London is a beacon of modern healthcare and has an excellent reputation.

UCLH is in an enviable position. It manages its Foundation Trust efficiently, and as a result has a surplus which it is ploughing back into healthcare by ­developing a world-leading specialist cancer hospital.

As with all organisations that are performing well, a lot of its success is down to the management and that includes the innovative use of technology. UCLH is an amalgamation of seven hospitals with a £700m turnover providing ­patient care, research and development and education, which makes it one of the most complex NHS trusts in the country.

“We are heavily linked to the R&D agenda­ as part of the University College London (UCL) and are one of the top ­research hospitals in the world. We also partner with Yale in the US,” Thomas says.

“That means we are constantly changing and improving the way that we care. It is not your standard NHS world.

“It’s very stimulating for consultants and trainees,” he says. UCLH is a national centre for neuroscience, dental and heart healthcare, but also has to provide the ‘standard’ services we all expect of a hospital like A&E and maternity wards.

To cope with these demands UCLH has a history of really working its building stock, Thomas explains.

The new hospital was phase 2 of the latest programme, a new Cancer Wellness centre will open in April 2012 and then the construction of a proton beam therapy centre, one of the first in Europe, will be the fourth phase.

“Eight thousand people work here: 6500 on our payroll, the rest with UCL on an honouree appointment,” he says.

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