The Royal Marsden

Along with its academic partner, The Institute of Cancer Research, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust is one of the top five cancer centres in the world.

With around 800 clinical trials running at any one time, The Royal Marsden is in a unique position where it is able to offer patients the most advanced cancer treatment in the country and, with this in mind, it was crucial for the hospital to continue seeing and treating the 60,000 patients that use the hospital each year, despite the pandemic.

One of the key challenges The Royal Marsden was facing when COVID-19 struck, along with most other trusts, was the ability to get its staff working from home. The hospital needed to provide a stable, resilient and scalable solution rapidly and do so securely to ensure that there was no opportunity for unauthorised access on to the trust network.

This led to The Royal Marsden working with Phoenix to assist in creating a Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) instance, so that members of the Trust’s staff could use their own devices to be able to work from home quickly and effectively.

Craig Taylor, Director of Cloud Solutions at Phoenix, commented, “The team at Phoenix feel remarkably proud about how quickly we were able to help The Royal Marsden, and over 20 other NHS trusts, access technology that can save lives during the COVID-19 crisis.”

COVID-19 has killed 127,000 people, but actually one in two of us will potentially contract cancer and cancer doesn't go away and hasn't changed or stopped. So consequently, it's really important that we continue that piece of work and what we've done here has been instrumental in making that happen.
David Newey, Deputy CIOThe Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust

This was able to be turned around quickly because Phoenix have developed and delivered an express deployment methodology for WVD where we are able to quickly test applications, package them up and, using the power of Microsoft Azure, get those desktops out to users. On this achievement, Richard Brown, Azure Practice Lead at Phoenix, said, “In just nine short days, we have created a completely new way of working and built everything from infrastructure through to networking. The sheer determination and dedication of the teams at both sides have made this a reality.”

The ability for Royal Marsden staff to be able to access that technology in nine days, when the lead time for laptops, for example, was two months, saw them save approximately £500,000 if they had had to purchase laptops versus providing a WVD environment.

“For our patients, the impact of this new technology has been continuity of care and we have been able to continue over 80 per cent of our workload, even during the height of the COVID-19 crisis” said David Newey, Deputy CIO at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.

Phoenix and Microsoft have been pivotal in providing this solution and it has enabled The Royal Marsden to build once, deploy once and yet it has been able to scale up to 600 users. This has relieved a considerable amount of pressure and the fact that the Trust has adopted a solution which is saving them thousands of pounds which can be put towards ground-breaking research is both life changing and enables the team to continue delivering, at pace, other technological innovations to support the clinical service.

David Newey concluded, “Without being able to stand up that solution within two weeks, and deployed to the number of users we have, there is no doubt that patients would have suffered as a result.”

Please note, any clinical footage shown in this video is not that of The Royal Marsden, but stock footage.