Microsoft has announced that all NHS staff will receive free access to its Microsoft Teams collaboration platform.
The computing giant says it hopes the move will help support remote and mobile working between NHS colleagues during the coronavirus outbreak, including giving doctors and nurses instant messaging and audio and video calls to share advice and updates on their patients.
Microsoft Teams is currently being rolled out by NHS Digital across all NHSmail users, with deployment expected to finish by March 20.
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NHS Microsoft Teams
Any NHS organisations that are not using the NHSmail system will also be given free access to Teams if they apply directly to Microsoft. They will also have access to NHS Digital’s NHSmail support site to help them roll-out Teams.
“Technology is key to supporting patients who are self-isolating and makes sure they have the information they need and access to medical support and advice," said Ian Phoenix, Director of Technology at NHS Digital.
"For doctors and NHS staff this means that working remotely becomes much easier and more practical.”
“Microsoft is fully committed to assisting the NHS at this incredibly challenging time," added Cindy Rose, Chief Executive of Microsoft UK.
"The use of Microsoft Teams will ensure the hardworking doctors, nurses and support staff across all NHS organisations have the collaboration tools they need to carry out their vital work. We are hugely appreciative of their ongoing efforts to tackle COVID-19 and will continue to provide support however best we can.”
Microsoft announced two weeks ago that it would be offering free access to its teleconferencing suite in order to help businesses and schools continue operating in spite of the global coronavirus outbreak.
The company is currently offering a six-month free trial of Microsoft Teams, with the premium tier of the service, which was initially available in China with certain limitations, also now available to users globally. Since March 10, Microsoft has also removed member restrictions in Teams and will let users schedule video calls and conferences.
Rival Google is also providing free access to the advanced Hangouts meeting service to all G-Suite and G-Suite for Educations customers across the globe.
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