NHS England has signed a five-year deal that will see the Microsoft 365 cloud-based online productivity suite of services rolled out to 1.5 million health service staff.
The delivery contract for the deal has been awarded to Bytes Software Services, and will enable NHS England staff to access the full suite of Microsoft 365 products.
Jack Watson, managing director of Bytes, said the roll-out of Microsoft 365 would provide a “platform for future innovation” in the healthcare sector, as well as allowing the firm to showcase its own skills in supporting public sector organisations with their digital transformation efforts.
“This five-year contract highlights the breadth and depth of skills Bytes brings in managing, advising and supporting the NHS to utilise secure cloud platforms, analytics and apps,” said Watson.
“This award reflects our remarkable heritage in connecting people with technology. It is fitting, and a great privilege, to be selected as the partner of choice on the 75th anniversary of the NHS. We are committed to putting customer service and patient outcomes at the forefront of our daily activity.”
It also includes scope later down the line for NHS England to access further products from the software giant and other third-party suppliers.
The deal comes hot on the heels of an NHS England-wide roll-out of Microsoft Teams in 2020, and is billed as being a money-saving move for the health service.
This is on the basis that the deployment contract has been negotiated on behalf of the entire health service, rather than relying on individual healthcare trusts to negotiate separate deals on an individual basis.
“Bringing the entire NHS buying power to the table has provided a wide-ranging commercial framework, providing eligible NHS organisations [with] a valuable deal, and saving the health service millions of pounds annually,” Microsoft said in a blog post announcing the deal.
NHS England CIO John Quinn said the contract would also put the health service on a path to improve the amount and quality of the collaboration and communication that takes place between its staff.
“We’ve seen huge benefits following our original agreement with Microsoft in 2020, whether using Microsoft Teams to make it quicker and easier to arrange meetings or other digital tools that mean more time can be spent supporting patients,” said Quinn.
“As the NHS turns 75, this deal is part of a long history of the health service adapting to make use of the latest and greatest innovations available to deliver more productive and joined-up services for patients, and gives us a strong platform to build on for the future.”
Microsoft UK CEO Clare Barclay added: “This agreement will ensure that NHS organisations can accelerate their recovery from Covid-19, reform ways of working through collaboration tools and build resilience through a modern, secure, cloud-based infrastructure.”