Health Department lack of planning will cause IT chaos

Tuesday 10 Dec 2013

The chaotic approach to financial management within the Department of Health may lead to a crisis in IT in the New Year. 

The HSUWA understands that the blow-out in costs at Fiona Stanley Hospital, particularly in the IT area, has resulted in the Department redirecting money originally designated to other priorities. 

As the system struggles to cope, a looming IT issue is on the horizon.  Hundreds, possibly thousands, of Department employees use Windows XP.  This operating system will be 10 years old in April next year and under Microsoft's policies, will not be supported. 

Microsoft advises that 'unsupported and unpatched environments are vulnerable to security risks...leading to public notification of the organisation's inability to maintain its systems and customer information'. 

In addition, many other software vendors are unlikely to support new versions of applications in an XP environment and most hardware manufacturers will stop support of the Operating System on their new PC models.

It seems that Treasury is unlikely to release more funding to the Health Department as it struggles to respond to the current political pressures.  Yet the difficultly remains and the HSUWA is deeply concerned that our members will be working in an unstable IT environment, prone to security breaches.  The entire health care system relies on technology to function and chaos will certainly be the order of the day if this situation is not addressed.

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