A new mega-framework tender indicates that the NHS in the UK has a budget in excess of £500 million to spend on various computer hardware.
A ten-lot agreement including desktops, laptops, tabs, peripherals, and warranties has been issued by the NHS Shared Business Services and North of England Commercial Procurement Collaborative.
It is intended to ensure that providers and regulators of NHS-funded services can purchase requisite equipment.
Thus, the procurement has been opened up to “practice based commissioning consortia, general practise commissioning consortia, NHS England”, according to the tender.
The desktop lot covers small form factors, micro machines, all-in-ones and thin client devices, with some £100 million set aside for this; the same amount apportioned to laptops.
Up to £50 million can be spent on slabs including wraparounds, detachables and phablets and, in common with the previous two PC categories, up to eight suppliers can win a seat at the table that allows them to bid for individual contracts.
Specialist healthcare IT including infection control products, mobile clinical assistant devices represent lot five where £50 million is budgeted to be spent.
Separately, some £25 million is to be made available for clinical LCD and HD monitors
Buyers of “Green IT” – kit that “demonstrates significant sustainability benefits beyond energy use” – will have £10 million to splash.
This refers to hardware that incorporates “environmental, economic and social sustainability principles”, the tender stated.
Printers and scanners, deployment services, third party warranties and a ‘one stop shop’ lot for suppliers that can provide all of the above were the final lots.
In this area, procurement heads can spend up to £25 million, £20 million, £20 million and £100 million respectively.
The framework, which is due to start at the beginning of December, runs for two years with an option to extend twice by a further 12 months.
Updating the technology utilised in the NHS has been made a major priority by the government and NHS England.
This is considered particularly important in a healthcare future in which big data will play a major role.
There have been question marks recently about the role of Google in the health service, with the software giant having entered into a public-private partnership with various NHS trusts.
Although the involvement of Google is stated to be positive by NHS authorities, the access to private information granted the mega-corporation has concerned privacy advocates.