New framework to encourage cloud computing on NHS

A new procurement framework launched by the UK’s NHS will provide a simple and legally-compliant way of purchasing cloud solutions.

Cloud computing has emerged as a way of improving efficiency in healthcare, with the possibility of offering improved services such as electronic health records.

Digitising the NHS is also a goal of health secretary Matt Hancock, who wants hospitals and clinics to take advantage of the latest technology to improve efficiency and quality of services.

With a plethora of providers offering this technology, the new Cloud Solutions Framework launched by NHS Shared Business Services, helps the health service access high-quality value-for-money services from 24 preferred suppliers.

The framework also applies across the rest of the public sector, including local authorities, police, and schools.

Public sector organisations will be able to use the framework to make either direct awards, or run mini-competitions to best suit their needs.

The framework also encourages suppliers to bring forward innovative new products and solutions throughout the life of the agreement to benefit the public sector.

Complying with European regulations, the tool enables public bodies to simplify and expedite the procurement process.

The framework consists of four “lots”: the first is a solution design and consultancy providing initial support ahead of cloud implementation.

This includes clouds readiness assessments, architecture design and migration planning to support any organisation aiming to ditch its old infrastructure and move over to a public or private cloud.

A second lot covers public and private cloud computing, or hybrid options, for hosting, processing, storage, networks and applications.

It provides the core infrastructure that organisations can build on to create their cloud solutions.

A third lot offers real time support, access to professional expertise, and a range of other support services.

There is also a fourth lot helping an organisation find a trusted partner offering support from the beginning to the end of the transformation process.

Running until the end of September 2021, there is an option to extend the framework for a further two years.

Phil Davies, procurement director at NHS SBS, said: “In what is an incredibly crowded and complex market our aim was to significantly simplify the procurement process for the NHS and wider public sector.

“To ensure framework users have access to the very best cloud services at the most competitive price, we carried out a rigorous tender process and limited the number of suppliers on the framework to the 10 or 20 most outstanding in each Lot. The result is a specialist pool of 24 leading suppliers, who provide the greatest expertise and value-for-money to the public sector.”

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