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Microsoft deal to help practices

by Emily Roberts
12 July 2023

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NHS staff in England, including GPs and practice staff have been given access to the latest Microsoft productivity apps to make sure ‘all organisations are working on the same systems’ and collaboration between teams is easier, under a five-year deal negotiated by NHS England.

The arrangement, which replaces a 2020 agreement, will save the health service millions of pounds, according to NHS England.

As part of its ongoing efforts to increase efficiency and boost productivity, NHS England said the deal will see a single national contract for all 1.5 million health service workers, including clinicians, and support staff, to be able to access the full suite of cloud-based Microsoft 365 services.

In the past, each local organisation would be responsible for purchasing their own licences for software.

As well as allowing staff to ‘maximise time for care’, NHS England said the new deal will strengthen the cyber resilience of the NHS, with organisations and practices able to benefit from a suite of Microsoft security solutions including capabilities around threat protection, data governance and compliance.

NHS England’s first national deal in March 2020 made the Microsoft Teams app available to all NHS staff at the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Users have since saved more than 17 million hours of time by using it for virtual meetings.

John Quinn, chief information officer at NHS England, said the new agreement will mean ‘we can create a platform for innovation so that NHS workers always have the latest digital tools to help them focus on frontline care.

‘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.

‘This is a further great example of the NHS using our collective buying power to secure market-leading products at a reduced cost for taxpayers.’

The new deal, awarded to Bytes, a Microsoft reseller, will also provide the opportunity ‘to introduce further innovative technology over the coming years,’ added Mr Quinn.