NHSX, NHS Digital and Microsoft have signed a 'landmark' deal which will save the NHS 'hundreds of millions of pounds' and enable all eligible organisations in England to access Microsoft 365 digital tools.
According to NHS Digital, the agreement 'guarantees significant cost savings for both individual NHS organisations and the NHS as a whole', and will 'improve productivity, enhance collaboration and strengthen cyber security across healthcare services'.
Under the deal, Microsoft 365 will be deployed to as many as 1.2 million staff across NHS organisations, including Trusts, CCGs, and health Informatics Services, 'creating a truly joined-up NHS'.
The move will facilitate more effective communication between staff as well as improved access to information, applications and services, which the groups claim with cut administrative burdens and boost patient safety.
The agreement secures access to a variety of Microsoft applications, building on an agreement in April 2018 that enabled NHS organisations to use Windows 10 to bolster defences against cyber attacks.
GPs, consultants, nurses, therapists, paramedics and support staff, will have access to services within Microsoft 365, ensuring they are able to use tools such as Microsoft Teams, which will enable staff to collaborate more effectively through instant messaging, audio and video calls.
“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,” said health and social care secretary Matt Hancock.
“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.”
“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,” added Sarah Wilkinson, NHS Digital's chief executive.