This site is intended for health professionals only

Framework unveiled to help practices access tech expertise

by Rima Evans
4 April 2024

Share this article

A procurement framework agreement has been launched to make it easier for GP practices to buy in the skills and expertise they need to deliver digital and tech projects.

The agreement comprises 40 already-vetted providers of consultancy services that can provide support with IT projects, clinical informatics, digital training, as well supply temporary staff with digital data and technology (DDaT) skills.

Half of the providers are small to medium enterprises and all specialise in digital healthcare.

NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS), which has developed the Digital Health Advisory Services framework agreement, has said it’s the only one of its kind in the UK.

It describes it as a ‘simple and cost-effective means’ for healthcare organisations, including practices, hospitals and the emergency services, to be able to quickly bring in digital and tech skills they need that they don’t have in-house.

The framework is free to access and provides a range of services within these four areas or ‘lots’:

  • Specialist clinical and healthcare digital consultancy 
  • Clinical and Ddgital health delivery and augmentation
  • Clinical data science and population health analytics
  • Digital skills in healthcare.

As the NHS adopts more technological innovations and undergoes transformation, the level of DDaT skills required within its digital workforce need ramping up, the NHS SBS said.

A 2021 report from Health Education England found that an additional 32,000 full-time equivalent DDaT roles will be needed in the NHS by 2030.

Since recruitment on this scale is a long term goal, the framework is designed to be ‘an interim solution’, so digital projects and initiatives are not held up.

David Holbrook, senior category manager – digital workforce & IT transformation at NHS SBS said:

‘The NHS Long Term Workforce Plan states that harnessing the opportunities presented by digital and technological innovations requires NHS staff to continue to build digital skills and capabilities. 

‘Workforce is one of the most cited challenges facing the NHS and the purpose of our framework agreement is to help accelerate successful digital adoption by providing immediate access to the tools, expertise and digital skills the NHS needs and to support it bridge the gap along its journey to transformation.’