Framework responding to need for better patient pre and post appointment communications, launched

Leading finance & accounting, procurement and workforce services provider, NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS), has unveiled a new framework designed to respond to the need within the NHS for better pre and post appointment communications, to reduce the backlog of urgent appointments and improve the pathway and patient journey.

Replacing the Communications, Appointments, Reminders & Alert agreement, NHS SBS’s Patient/Citizen Communications & Engagement Solutions framework agreement is for the supply of communications methods to engage with patients, citizens and the workforce across NHS organisations and wider public sector bodies.

“With the coronavirus pandemic having added to the complexity of patient appointments and waiting lists,the revised agreement provides NHS organisations with access to market leading communication tools encompassing alerts, reminders and appointment technology that support healthcare professionals to deliver effective and efficient clinical care,” said Adam Nickerson, senior category manager of digital and IT at NHS SBS.

“Critically, with appointment solutions on offer via the framework encompassing traditional communication methods like phone, mail, email and SMS, alongside appointment technology via digital first communication channels such as patient self-service booking solutions, the framework ensures NHS organisations and care providers can be more inclusive of patient preferences by offering them a greater number of ways in which they can interact, make and respond to medical appointments.”

In addition, NHS trusts can use the framework to commission Friends and Family Test surveys to understand whether patients are happy with the service provided, or where improvements are needed.

The products offered by suppliers on NHS SBS’s framework fit with the Elective Recovery Technology Fund (ERTF) announced in October this year. £250 million has been allocated to the fund to support organisations across the NHS in England to avail of digital technology that enables elective recovery, accelerates the uptake of digitally supported care and offers it to more patients. It is a part of the “Targeted Investment Fund” of £700 million, established as part of the government’s ‘Build Back Better Plan’.

The framework, which has a value of £250 million with 29 suppliers awarded a place across nine lots, runs to 31 October 2023 with the option to extend to 2025.

For more information about the Patient/Citizen Communications & Engagement Solutions framework agreement