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DoH goes to market for ambulance mobile data solution



New system from MP1 procurement to play a part in the move from Airwave to Emergency Services Network

The Government has gone to market for a new mobile data system for ambulance trusts in all parts of the UK apart from Northern Ireland – and is committing £14.5 million to make it happen.

The work is another step towards the commitment of moving away from the Airwave arrangement and to the imminent Emergency Services Network for voice and data communications.

The plans have taken shape with the Department of Health (DoH) posting an official EU tender notice, indicating that it wants a short list of no more than six suppliers.

The tender lists 13 ambulance services across the UK as partners in the joint procurement, including the Scottish Ambulance Service Board and Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust. The bodies, working in lockstep with the DoH, are looking to procure what it describes as a new Ambulance Mobilisation Application and Associated Services (MP1) deal.

This will be made up of a mobilisation system and associated services. The former is envisaged as “a highly available and resilient ambulance mobilisation application solution to enable dispatchers and other control room staff to rapidly communicate timely and accurate information as efficiently as possible to responders such as paramedics, nurses, GPs and community responders”.

Misson critical

It will have to “enable mission critical communications between responding resources and control rooms” 24/7 basis, says the DoH’s requirement, and provide enhancements to existing commercial offerings “readily available in the market “.

These should cover specific ambulance service functionality and system interfaces, as well as other mission critical public safety functionality and services, including appropriate security, additional resilience and enhanced availability.

The winning supplier will also provide a series of associated services including design, development, maintenance, support and training services. MP1 will be a seven-year contract (up to 24 months for implementation and 60 for it to be operational) with the option to extend for another two.

All 13 trusts are the service recipients for MP1, which is said to form part of the Mobile Data and Vehicle Solution Programme (MDVS), and the wider Ambulance Radio Programme (ARP). The latter is aimed at rolling out a national integrated control room and mobile data vehicle solution for NHS Ambulance services in England, but also potentially for Scotland and Wales too.

However, the tender cautions that the latter two parties may decide not to adopt MP1.

Open standards and APIs

The document also emphasises the use of open standards and published application programme interfaces, and says the system will eventually be managed by a multi-disciplinary authority team capable of guiding developments while adopting agile methodologies “to ensure users requirements are met”.

The MP1 solution will not be required to connect to any legacy systems, although the supplier will need to support users as they transition from Airwave to the Emergency Services Network and from the existing legacy Mobile Data and Vehicle Solution Programme to its successor.

Its implementation will be phased across each trust and the roll out must be completed by the expiry of the authority's current ARP contracts.

Image by Lee Haywood, CC BY-SA 2.0 through flickr

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