Framework for connectivity to Health and Social Care Network planned to go live in late November
The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) has begun the procurement process for telecoms services to run on the Health and Social Care Network.
It is setting up a new framework, RM3825, under which the framework will operate as a dynamic purchasing system (DPS), in which new suppliers can join after it has gone into operation.
The tender notice indicates that the DPS, which is now open to bidders, will go live on 24 November under the title HSCN Access Services. It will be open to all public sector bodies, reflecting the intent to make the HSCN more widely used than its predecessor, the N3 broadband network for the NHS.
Officials of NHS Digital, which is running the network, recently indicated that it sees plenty of social services to use it but is not going to hurry organisations into signing up.
The decision to use the DPS follows some concerns in the industry that CCS was intending to stick by the existing RM1045 framework, which does not allow for regular new entrants. Some had argued that this would create a less competitive market and make it difficult to respond to advances in the relevant technology.
Michael Bowyer, innovation director at industry association, Innopsis, commented: “Delivering on schedule, this marks a key milestone in the journey taken by NHS Digital to implement the next generation of connectivity services for health and social care users via the HSCN.
"As the trade body for suppliers of digital infrastructure to government, we have been working closely with NHS Digital and CCS to ensure that there is a vibrant supplier market. The framework RM3825 will pioneer the use of a dynamic purchasing system, enabling customers to offer and award contracts electronically in a compliant fashion.
“The DPS will also provide suppliers with a much simpler process for admittance to the framework on an ongoing basis, further promoting the competitive marketplace.
“We are excited about the potential to unlock innovation from a wide range of suppliers to deliver more flexible services to health and social care providers to the benefit of the nation.”
Image: Rozszerzonej Gwiazdy, public domain