Health service staff in Wales are to be given access to Microsoft software under a new deal between the company and NHS Wales Informatics Service.
They have come to an agreement through TrustMarque, NHS Wales’ Microsoft licensing partner.
It involves the provision of Outlook, Teams, OneDrive, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, SharePoint and Yammer – all to be available on multiple devices – along with an upgrade to Windows 10 E15. The latter includes security features such as Advanced Threat Protection.
Microsoft declined to provide details on the terms of access, but it is understood that NHS Wales staff will be able to access the Microsoft Home Use Programme - providing for the use of Office 365 on personal devices - at a discounted rate.
Microsoft said a major benefit of the deal will be to open up the possibility of more online consultations and meetings, helping to reduce travel time for clinicians and managers.
The deal will cover more than 100,000 NHS employees.
Andrew Griffiths, director of NHS Wales Informatics Service, said: “This new national agreement is part of our commitment to refresh NHS Wales IT infrastructure and ensure it supports the transformational changes taking place across health and social care. It moves our digital estate away from locally managed services and into cloud-based services, delivering efficiencies and economies of scale.
“Frontline staff who work in our health and care services rely on technology, to help them deliver services in new, innovative ways that put the needs of patients first. I am very pleased that we are able to deliver the most up to date tools to our NHS Wales staff to help them with the fantastic work they do every day.”
He added: “It’s essential that NHS Wales has secure systems that health staff and patients trust and this agreement will help achieve that. It will increase resilience and mean our services are running on the most up-to-date operating system at all times.”
This follows the announcement in March of a deal for Welsh schools under which they obtained free access to Microsoft 365.