West Midlands NHS trusts to start HSCN migration in coming weeks

Birmingham Community Healthcare and Walsall NHS trusts are both looking to pick a supplier for a three-year contract

Two major NHS trusts in the West Midlands are planning to move onto the Health and Social Care Network (HSCN) in the coming weeks.

Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust have each issued a contract notice looking for a supplier from which to procure HSCN connectivity services. Both are migrating away from HSCN’s predecessor, the N3 network, for which BT was the sole supplier.

A total of 16 companies are on the dynamic purchasing system (DPS) for the provision of HSCN access services, which was launched in November. All of these have achieved the stage 1 compliance needed to gain a slot on the DPS, but so far only nine have also attained the necessary stage 2 badge which allows suppliers to begin providing services to customers. 

The other seven have begun the process of achieving compliance – as have three other firms that have already passed stage 1 but are yet to be admitted to the DPS.

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All 16 suppliers currently on the HSCN access services deal – including those who are still working towards their stage 2 badge – are permitted to bid for the Walsall and Birmingham contracts. But contacts can, ultimately, only be awarded if compliance has been achieved.

Both trusts are seeking to sign an initial three-year contract with their chosen supplier. Walsall is inviting bids until 22 March, with a deal scheduled to go live on 2 April. Bids for the Birmingham deal are open until 19 March, with a contract due to commence on 27 May.

Neither trust has specified an estimated value for the deal.

Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust employs close to 5,000 people across 400 sites, and has more than two million interactions each year with patients. Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, which serves about 260,000 citizens of the town and its surrounding areas, has upwards of 4,500 staff.

In addition to the nine stage 2 and seven stage 1 suppliers currently featured on the HSCN procurement vehicle, a further 11 suppliers are in the process of becoming compliant. The DPS is worth an estimated £500m over its six-year lifespan – throughout which new suppliers can join, and incumbent providers can add new services or change terms.

Over the coming weeks, four aggregated procurement exercises will be taking place, where access services will be bulk-bought for the South West, London, the North East, and the South East.


Sam Trendall

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