Suppliers chosen for £250m NHS patient communications framework

Procurement vehicle selects 29 firms across nine lots

Credit: Douglas Nash/Public domain

A total of 29 suppliers have won a place on a £250m framework through which NHS organisations can access patient communications platforms including email, text, and voice messages.

A key objective of the procurement is to enable NHS care providers to deliver “better pre- and post-appointment communications” with patients. The deal came into effect on 1 November and runs for an initial term of two years. 

It features nine lots, the first of which is dedicated to online communications and contains 14 suppliers.

The second lot, for email platforms, features 15 firms, while 13 companies will offer text – or SMS messages – via the third segment.

The fourth section covers six providers of “automated two-way interactive voice response services” and the fifth includes six suppliers that can deliver call-centre services, including management of outbound and inbound calls.

The sixth lot aims to address NHS procurement needs for “on and off-site bulk and traditional hybrid mail”. Eleven suppliers made the cut.

The seventh lot features 12 providers of platforms that can support the delivery of online surveys and feedback tools, including the NHS Friends and Family Test, which is used by most health-service organisations and services and gives patients “a quick and anonymous way to give your views after receiving NHS care or treatment”.

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“It is recognised that surveys such as FFT will predominantly be digital first and using online… communication therefore the requirement is for bidders to provide an automated one- and two-way internet-based online digital communication services such as web-based services or smartphone applications,” the contract notice said.

The penultimate lot, which includes four firms, covers the provision of “two-way workforce communications”.

“This service is intended to replace outdated workforce communication methods such as fax machines and analogue pagers,” the notice added.

The eight segment features “automated one- and two-way mobile audio messaging, paging and alerting services” – as does the ninth and final lot, which is reserved for businesses that can deliver an “all-in-one combined solution and advisory an digital transformation”.

Firms were required to have made the cut on at least three of the other lots to be included on the last section, which contains 13 firms.

The buying vehicle was created by NHS Shared Business Services, which said that it wished to create a “comprehensive framework for the supply of patient communications and engagement solutions”.

“The framework aims to provide a simple, effective, efficient, and compliant route to market for the supply of communication methods to engage with patients, citizens and the workforce across NHS organisations and wider public sector bodies,” the contract notice said. “It provides access to communications, alerts, reminders, and appointment technology, through a range of communication channels with digital first, but ensuring inclusion is maximised by offering traditional methods such as phone, mail and SMS.”

It added: “The framework is in response to the need within the NHS for better pre- and post-appointment communications, supporting healthcare professionals to provide effective clinical care while improving clinical efficiency and safety to drive increases in patient satisfaction.”

The 29 companies featured across the nine lots are: 4Net Technologies; Acf Technologies; Advanced Digital Innovation; Drdoctor;; Forth Communication; Fusion Practices; Healthcare Communications; Infinite Convergence Solutions; Netcall Technology; Quadient; Service Level Management; Synertec; Talkdesk; BT; Conduent Business Process Solutions; Content Guru; Doxim Striata; Forefront; Service Level Management; Firetext Communications; Link Mobility; Charles Novacroft Direct; CFH Docmail; Civica, MBA Group; Webpost; Medallia; Multitone Electronics; and Vocera Communications.


Sam Trendall

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