NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS) has announced the second iteration of its framework agreement, Technology Enabled Care Services 2.
The new framework enables Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) – including NHS organisations and Local Authorities – to procure remote patient monitoring solutions that can reduce the burden on the health and care system.
The framework is designed to help the NHS and social care sector to free up beds, reduce the backlog of appointments, speed up patient discharge, and reduce the burden on the stretched social care sector.
Designed with contributions from NHS England (NHSE) Transformation Directorate, local authorities, national technology-enabled care (TEC) policy makers like TEC Cymru, as well as industry bodies including the TSA (TEC Services Association), the unveiling of NHS SBS’s revised £150 million framework comes at a time that sees longer hospital waiting times, hospitals being fuller than pre-pandemic and a discharge crisis.
The health service is contending with an environment in which 19 out of 20 hospital beds taken and 14,000 are occupied by someone clinically ready to leave but unable to be discharged to the appropriate care setting.
NHSE has, in its delivery plan for recovering urgent and emergency care services, stated “its ambition to improve to 76% of patients being admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours by March 2024”.
The plan also sees virtual wards (hospital-level care at home) playing an important part in expanding capacity by joining-up health and care outside of the hospital. Virtual wards combine technology and remote monitoring and advice to allow hospital-level care, including diagnostics and treatment.
They can also replace the need for admission and facilitate people being able to leave hospital sooner, safely.
Using NHS SBS’s ready-to-use framework agreement, GP Practices, hospitals, health centres, emergency services through to housing and local authorities and ICSs can gain rapid access to the very latest advancement and market-leading technology in remote patient care whilst being assured the solutions meet national clinical safety standards.
The framework enables them to quickly procure remote clinical monitoring, intelligent activity monitoring, patient-controlled personalised healthcare records and virtual ward solutions, which can support health and care professionals to deliver effective and efficient clinical care for patients.
Adam Nickerson, head of category – digital & IT procurement frameworks at NHS SBS, said: “The coronavirus pandemic added to waiting lists and the knock-on effects of a lack of beds in the NHS and social care sector. NHSE is looking to deploy virtual ward beds to scale up capacity from 7,000 to 10,000 this autumn, ready for next winter.
“As part of this ambition, ICSs are expected to deliver virtual ward capacity equivalent to 40-50 virtual ward beds per 100,000 people by December 2023, with virtual ward services developed across ICSs and provider collaboratives, rather than individual institutions.
“The framework agreement enables ICSs and provider collaboratives – from housing authorities to local authorities, to strategically source and quickly buy a mixture of goods be it a single, bundled or a fully managed service, which work across a region.
“It means they can better plan and deliver joined up services and improve the health of the population across their regional wing of care.”