An agreement struck between NHSX, NHS Digital and Microsoft is to "guarantee" cost savings for individual NHS organisations and the NHS as whole and enable all eligible organisations in England to access Microsoft 365 digital tools. It will improve productivity, enhance collaboration and strengthen cyber security across healthcare services.
As part of the agreement, Microsoft 365 will be deployed to as many as 1.2 million staff across NHS organisations, including Trusts, CCGs, and health Informatics Services, creating a truly joined-up NHS. Staff will be able to communicate more effectively and will have access to the information, applications and services they need, reducing the administrative burden and improving patient safety.
It secures access to a variety of Microsoft applications, building on an agreement first announced in April 2018 that enabled NHS organisations to use Windows 10 to strengthen their defences against cyber attacks.
GPs, consultants, nurses, therapists, paramedics and support staff, will have access to services within Microsoft 365, ensuring they are able to use tools such as Microsoft Teams, which will enable staff to collaborate more effectively through instant messaging, audio and video calls. Microsoft Teams has been used across many NHS organisations to collaborate, share information securely and support new ways of working during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Announcing the deal, Matt Hancock, Secretary of State says: “We have seen incredible, innovative uses of technology throughout the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic and this new deal with Microsoft will pave the way for that to continue by ensuring we get the basics right.”
The timing of the agreement coincides with the licence renewal period of a number of NHS organisations in England. It also ensures that those NHS organisations that have already made their own arrangements with Microsoft benefit from the deal and the significant cost savings on offer. Local NHS organisations will access the savings via their existing agreements, receiving additional discounts on the products included within the scope of this agreement.