The NHS is set for a significant technology boost following the signing of a new partnership with Microsoft.
Under the deal, all eligible NHS organisations across England will be able to access the full suite of Microsoft 365 digital tools, which ties together Office 365, Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security.
The partnership, signed between NHSX, NHS Digital and Microsoft, hopes to save the NHS hundreds of millions of pounds in IT operations and cost savings.
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Microsoft 365 NHS
The deal will see Microsoft 365 rolled out to around 1.2 million staff across NHS organisations, including GPs, consultants, nurses, therapists, paramedics and support staff, from Trusts, CCGs, and health Informatics Services.
This will gives these organisations access to tools such as Microsoft Teams, allowing staff to collaborate more effectively through instant messaging, audio and video calls, and doctors and nurses to carry out video consultations to ensure high levels of patient safety. The NHS banned staff from using rival video call service Zoom recently following security concerns.
“Microsoft is proud to support the NHS any way we can, especially in these challenging times," said Microsoft UK CEO Cindy Rose.
"Since COVID-19, the NHS has rapidly accelerated its adoption of digital tools to enable clinicians and support staff to perform their life-saving work more effectively. This agreement ensures NHS organisations across England have access to modern productivity tools and solutions necessary to delivering better patient outcomes now and in the future.”
Since first signing a partnership in April 2018 based on protecting the organisation from cyberattacks, Microsoft has deepened its ties with the NHS in recent months. Recently, the company allowed NHS Digital to deploy numerous licences for free as part of its response to the pandemic.
Trusts will still be able to opt for non-Microsoft solutions to run their IT operations, but any NHS organisations that have their own arrangements with Microsoft will be able to benefit from the deal and the cost savings on offer.
"This deal will allow the NHS to derive productivity and collaboration benefits from the use of numerous Microsoft products and will strengthen cyber security across the system," added Sarah Wilkinson, CEO at NHS Digital.
"They have been a superb partner throughout this crisis and we look forward to extending this partnership in the years ahead”.
“Adopting the most up to date digital tools and operating systems are crucial for a modern day NHS - allowing staff to work as efficiently as possible which will deliver even better care for patients," noted Matt Hancock, Secretary of State.
“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.”
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