A new deal struck between tech giant Microsoft, NHSX (a new division driving the digital transformation of health and social care), and NHS Digital will save the NHS hundreds of millions of pounds enabling all eligible arms of England’s NHS access to Microsoft’s 365 digital tools.

Witnessing the heroism of the NHS throughout the COVID 19 pandemic; Microsoft has been swift to offer support in any way possible. During the pandemic, the NHS was required to quickly expedite its appropriation of digital tools to support staff and clinicians in performing their life-saving work.

Microsoft, granting all NHS staff access to Microsoft Teams free of charge, aided in this transition.

Streamlined communications

Improving patient safety, this lifeline of support will significantly reduce the administrative strain on NHS personnel. Through Microsoft 365, communication between staff will be streamlined, with improved access to the applications, information, and services they require.

Hailed to increase productivity, improve collaboration and strengthen cyber-security across healthcare services; the game-changing agreement promises vital savings for an already depleted National Health Service.

Building a ‘truly joined-up’ Health System

This landmark agreement is set to form a truly connected NHS. Microsoft 365, deployed as part of the agreement between the NHS and Microsoft, will connect 1.2 million staff across NHS organisations, including health Informatics Services, CCGs, and Trusts.

Moreover, It ensures access to a diversity of Microsoft applications, growing on a previous agreement (April 2018) which strengthened the NHS’s defences against cyber-attacks through the commissioning of Windows 10.

From GPs and consultants to nurses, therapists, and paramedics, to support staff, all will have access to services within Microsoft 365. This platform opens the gateway to vastly improved communications and collaborations through the brilliant innovations of Microsoft Teams.

Shaping the future

Microsoft Teams, through instant messaging, audio and video calls, including the capacity for large group meetings; also allows the safe sharing of information while providing swift solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic, and supporting a new way of working to provide healthcare to the nation.

Struck during the licence renewal period for a number of NHS organisations in England, the deal builds – through further discounts on Microsoft products – on existing deals the NHS had with Microsoft.

Matt Hancock, Secretary of State, stated: “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. 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.

Sarah Wilkinson, CEO at NHS Digital, said: “I’m delighted that we have been able to conclude these negotiations with Microsoft successfully. 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. I would also like to thank Microsoft for allowing NHS Digital to deploy numerous licences at no cost in recent months in response to the pandemic. They have been a superb partner throughout this crisis, and we look forward to extending this partnership in the years ahead“.

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