An NHS mental health provider has signed up to what it says is the “UK’s first healthcare cloud” deal, aiming to save 15 per cent on its IT spending.

Under the deal Mersey Care Trust will next month begin moving 15 terabytes of data from its 90 in-house servers to outside servers provided by IT firm SCC. The term cloud computing describes the use of computer resources accessed remotely over the internet, rather than stored locally.

Mersey Care’s contract will run for five years. The trust said the move was one of its quality, innovation, productivity and prevention initiatives and was “expected to bring significant savings in [its] infrastructure IT costs”. A statement said it would create the “UK’s first healthcare cloud”.

The deal was made under a framework agreement signed in the summer between Informatics Merseyside – a shared IT service covering 11 providers and commissioners in the area. It is hosted by Mersey Care Trust.

The trust said it was expected the cloud deal would be replicated in the near future for others in the partnership, which include Aintree University Hospitals Foundation Trust and Merseyside Commissioning Support Service.

The estimated cost of services for all the trusts over the coming five years is £16.5m, compared to an estimated £19.4m if they tried to build their own solution. Mersey Care estimates it will save £1.5m from its own estimated IT costs over the period.

Mersey Care Trust chief executive Joe Rafferty said: “Large-scale, shared IT infrastructure is transforming the way information and communications services are delivered and managed, and Mersey Care has decided to pursue this approach as a local QIPP initiative.”

He said as well as cost the benefits of the approach included reducing clinical risk, improved security and information governance, and providing a better basis for information interoperability.

SCC is investing £25m in its cloud services and its OptimiseCloud product.

SCC UK public sector director Tracy Westall said: “We’re delighted to be unveiling an exciting project that not only signifies the creation of the very first healthcare cloud in the UK, but also signifies a major step forward in the evolution of public sector IT.”