UK health service has £1.5B to put toward Digital Workplace Solutions 2: Electric Boogaloo

Four-year deal set to start next summer

The UK's National Health Service is on the hunt for tech suppliers to become part of a commercial agreement that could be worth up to £1.5 billion over four years.

Through its commercial purchasing organization, NHS Shared Business Services (SBS), the UK's public healthcare provider is looking to start conversations with suppliers as part of a pre-competition consultation to help shape the potentially lucrative arrangement for common workplace hardware and software.

According to a tender notice published by SBS, a joint venture between French outsourcing firm Sopra Steria and NHS England, the new deal is set to replace the existing Digital Workplace Solutions deal before it expires on August 9, 2024.

The existing deal covers client devices, client access licenses for software, servers, desktop operating systems, virtualization platforms, and third-party software including commercial off-the-shelf and bespoke. Suppliers providing the current deal, which started in 2020, include resellers Softcat, Boxxe, and Computacenter as well as direct suppliers like Dell.

Framework deals were developed by the UK government to consolidate demand among a select group of suppliers which are expected to offer lower than usual prices given the indicative value of the deal. Buyers might come anywhere in the wider public sector and are not bound to spend the maximum value on the agreement.

The new NHS agreement, Digital Workplace Solutions 2, is set to include infrastructure equipment supply, infrastructure support and maintenance and fixed and mobile communication equipment, as well as replacing the existing deal.

Suppliers need to express an interest in attending a series of pre-competition events by September 19, while the formal competition is set to kick off with the contract announcement on January 25.

The NHS is trying to recover from the unprecedented demand created by the pandemic, together with limits to its budget. Earlier this year it said it would employ the "latest technologies" to tackle the 6 million-strong waiting list for non-emergency care. As well as a revamp of workplace technologies, it has committed £2 billion to implementing electronic health records across all its organizations and creating unified health records. ®

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