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NHS Digital Urgent and Emergency Care: Access to Service Information.

Prior information notice


Directive 2004/18/EC

Section I: Contracting authority

I.1)Name, addresses and contact point(s)

National Health Service Commissioning Board
Quarry House, Quarry Hill
Contact point(s):
LS2 7UE Leeds

Internet address(es):

General address of the contracting authority:

Address of the buyer profile:

Further information can be obtained from: The above mentioned contact point(s)

I.2)Type of the contracting authority
National or federal agency/office
I.3)Main activity
I.4)Contract award on behalf of other contracting authorities
The contracting authority is purchasing on behalf of other contracting authorities: no

Section II.B: Object of the contract (Supplies or services)

II.1)Title attributed to the contract by the contracting authority:
NHS Digital Urgent and Emergency Care: Access to Service Information.
II.2)Type of contract and place of delivery or of performance
Service category No 7: Computer and related services
Locations throughout England.


II.3)Information on framework agreement
The notice involves the establishment of a framework agreement: no
II.4)Short description of nature and quantity or value of supplies or services:
The primary purpose of this Prior Information Notice is to outline the intention for pre-tender market engagement and to inform suppliers of prospective opportunities in connection with NHS England’s Digital Urgent and Emergency Care Programme in transforming Urgent and Emergency Care.
- Transforming urgent and emergency care services in England.
The NHS Five Year Forward View explains the need to redesign urgent and emergency care services in England for people of all ages with physical and mental health problems, and sets out the new models of care needed to do so. The urgent and emergency care review details how these models of care can be achieved through a fundamental shift in the way urgent and emergency care services are provided to all ages, improving out-of-hospital services so that we deliver more care closer to home and reduce hospital attendances and admissions. We need a system that is safe, sustainable and that provides high quality care consistently.
As part of the review, a number of products are being developed to help create the conditions for new ways of working to take root and when combined, deliver an improved system of urgent and emergency services. The review proposes that five key changes need to take place in order for this to be achieved. These are:
- Providing better support for people and their families to self-care or care for their dependents.
- Helping people who need urgent care to get the right advice in the right place, first time.
- Providing responsive, urgent physical and mental health services outside of hospital every day of the week, so people no longer choose to queue in hospital emergency departments.
- Ensuring that adults and children with more serious or life threatening emergency needs receive treatment in centres with the right facilities, processes and expertise in order to maximise their chances of survival and a good recovery.
- Connecting all urgent and emergency care services together so the overall physical and mental health and social care system becomes more than just the sum of its parts.
To support this transformation, the Digital Urgent and Emergency Care Programme wishes to explore how improvements can be brought to clinicians who access service information at the point of care. NHS England wishes to explore the next generation of systems that provide clinicians with access to high quality accurate information about services, their service capabilities, real time service capacity information and, connections to booking and referral systems. Further detailed information on NHS England ambitions for the Urgent and Emergency Care system can be found at in the Additional Information section.
NHS England is interested in engaging with suppliers who are experts in their field, are capable of contributing to its aims and can demonstrate a willingness to work in partnership with the NHS, including its partners and supply chain.
NHS England is committed to having early and meaningful engagement with interested suppliers who will be invited to a one-day briefing to help provide input into the shaping of requirements and learn about our overall ambitions and business challenges (the "Initial Briefing”). The outcome of which will be to inform industry of our plans, glean initial feedback and seek ideas on potential solutions. Interested suppliers are encouraged to register on our e-tendering portal (details below) following which you will receive further information about the Initial Briefing and the project in general.
During the engagement suppliers will be encouraged to use their innovation, expertise and knowledge to help NHS England to define the systems and tools that will deliver service information to clinicians, raise potential implications that might impact future service delivery models and respond to requests for rough order of magnitude costs. In addition, NHS England may via the e-sourcing portal request relevant case studies, ideally in a health and social care settings.
- How to Register an Interest.
NHS England wishes to gauge the levels of interest from organisations who can and are interested in this market engagement exercise. We would therefore like all interested suppliers to register their interest via the NHSBSA's eSourcing portal.
Instructions for registering are as follows:
a) Register your company on the eSourcing portal (this is only required once) by accessing the following link:
b) Select the ‘Click here to register link’.
c) Accept the terms and conditions and select ‘continue’.
d) Enter your correct business and user details.
e) Note the username you chose and select ‘save’ when complete.
f) You will shortly receive an email with your unique password (please keep this secure).
To express an interest in the tender:
a) Login to the portal with the username/password.
b) Select the ‘Open Access PQQs’ link. (These are PQQs open to any registered supplier).
c) Click on the project NHS Urgent and Emergency Care: Access to Service Information PQQ (it should be noted that this is NOT the actual PQQ stage of the procurement. It is a preliminary stage to gauge interest. The system limitations mean that the label states ‘PQQ' but the opportunity is not yet live. You will be notified when the tender goes live).
d) Select the ‘Express Interest’ button in the ‘Actions’ box on the left-hand side of the page.
e) This will move the PQQ into your ‘My PQQs’ page. (This is a secure area reserved for your projects only).
f) You have now registered your interest and will be notified of any future stages.
Estimated cost excluding VAT:
Range: between 12 000 000 and 20 000 000 GBP


This contract is divided into lots: no
II.5)Common procurement vocabulary (CPV)

48814000, 48982000, 48810000, 48985000, 48986000, 48600000, 48482000, 48612000, 48610000, 48814400, 48984000, 48983000, 48613000, 48800000, 48614000, 48783000, 48820000, 48611000, 48461000

II.6)Scheduled date for start of award procedures
II.7)Information about Government Procurement Agreement (GPA)
II.8)Additional information:
Health care services operate seven days a week and there is a need to connect the public with the services that can meet their health and social care needs first time. Therefore, there is a need for clear information about those services to be accessible and understandable for healthcare professionals to be able to advise patients.
For NHS 111 every weekday there are between 20 000 and 30 000 searches of the current services database. rising to around 50 000 on Saturdays and Sundays. The highest daily figure recorded to date was 67 000 on the 27.12.2014.
The future development of a tool set providing clinicians with access to service information needs to be considered within the wider context of how it can be used to support the vision of the Urgent and Emergency Care Review. The critical objective is one of being able to facilitate access to the right service first time for patients, whilst continuing to support the current UEC service provisions such as NHS 111 and 999 Telephony service(s).
Clinicians and staff in all settings need to be able to deliver best possible outcomes for patients, equipping the NHS with information, not just to signpost patients to other services, but the ability to connect patients with the next stage of the care or treatment they need. To do this they need to have immediate access to high quality information about the services available for patients in real time on any device, particularly given the changing models of care on mobile devices.
NHS England anticipates that there are new technologies that can contribute to delivering this service for clinicians and staff as with the complex process of matching the clinical needs of a patient to the right service, first time.
- Our Ambitions.
Our aim is to create an authoritative source of information about health and social care services for clinicians to use at point of care. The information should include the clinical capabilities of the service, the type of resources that can be accessed, if the service is available, and include who can refer and if appointments are available to book.
We envisage a number of components that will need to be included in the overarching solution. We have outlined these below.
1. Standards Based Register.
Data collected by clinicians who access information on services will be expected to comply with agreed standards for storage and sharing, as well as undergoing suitable data quality validation checks. Where assured data already exists, the system should retrieve it or link to it as appropriate for the use cases. Some of the standards that are being considered are as follows:
- Systematised Nomenclature of Medicine Clinical Terms (SNOMED CT): Clinical data must use approved coding structures as appropriate.
- Semantics: Data structures such as Resource Description Framework (RDF) format, allowing RDF Query Language such as ‘SPARQL’ to be used to query the full set of data.
- NHS Data Standards: for the naming and identification of services and associated data items.
- Open Data Standards: open data standards must be supported to promote market engagement and trust in the service information data.
- API's: data must be exposed via a (RESTful) API for data to be retrieved easily. Current API's support 111, 999, Choices, 3rd party applications and an early prototype of NHS 111 Online.
- Access: service information contained within the system will need to be assessed and should it be of a sensitive nature, appropriate Information Governance principles applied.
2. Data Standards.
Service Information accessed by clinicians is expected to contain core data and may also present or contain links to other data. The following data sets are some of the core items currently being considered, although the list is not exhaustive:
- Service Demographics: (Name, Service type, address, contact details, opening times, referral times etc. Could include specialist instruments/machinery (i.e. X-Ray) available).
- Capacity: (Maximum capacity of service, number of possible referrals that could be received per timeframe).
- Status: (Live/real time indication of status of service to inform if the service is able to accept referrals or is working at maximum capacity).
- Booking/Appointment details: (Information to ensure successful booking of appointments at a service - could include technical information for messaging to service as well as time slots interfacing with systems such as eRS).
- Clinical Data: The clinical skill set of a service that will be SNOMED coded, will allow Health Care Professionals to identify the most clinically appropriate service to meet a patient's need. Additionally providing the capability for any Clinical Triage Platforms or Clinical Decision Support Systems to link to it.
NHS England would like to engage with suppliers to explore the variety of models around authoritative data, linking with other external data and also presenting data on behalf of other registers to give a singular view.
3. Data Management Tools.
To achieve an acceptable level of authoritative data that can be stored, managed and maintained appropriately it is anticipated that the service information will comprise of a series of systems, tools and processes. NHS England would like to engage with suppliers to explore the following areas:
- Data Stewardship - how data can be quality assured, validated and published.
- How access control and permissions may be managed, devolved or centralised.
- What automated ways there could be for collecting data from external systems.
- Provide reports on the data quality at levels such as National, CCG, Service and Service Category perspective.
Whilst the above is not intended to be prescriptive or a complete list, NHS England would like to engage with suppliers to explore and understand the various techniques and process models that would contribute to our overall ambitions.
4. Workflow and Ranking Capabilities.
Current systems are capable of defining multiple ranking strategies which take into consideration how commissioned services within the NHS should be used to avoid unnecessary admissions or referrals to high acuity services. These are additional API's that are delivered centrally and apply binary logic to the ordering of services that ensure best value for public spend is achieved.
These services are critical in nature and underpin how NHS 111 and 999 services manage patient flow throughout their respective activity levels. In a centralised model the solution must be built to provide resilient capability to ensure that the solution is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
NHS England would like to engage with suppliers to explore other disaggregated models.
5. Digital NHS Service Finder Mobile Application.
A product has recently been developed to provide health care clinicians with access to a list of nearby available services that can meet the clinical needs of a patient, from a mobile device. We are now seeking to evolve this capability to meet the needs of the wider health and social care professionals and their users.
We continue to learn valuable insights from user feedback with key themes emerging around the following:
- Providing functionality for existing booking interfaces so that appointments can be arranged for a patient where and when appropriate, including integration with the national Electronic Referrals Service.
- Be accessible and usable via users of various digital capabilities.
- Search functionality provided by any web based presentation layer should be flexible, innovative and intuitive to ensure the service meets the needs of Digital Urgent and Emergency care users and commissioners.
- Support for notification functionality that could be used to send service information details to the patient or carer via text or email.
NHS England would like to engage with suppliers to further explore what applications and access capabilities are available.
6. Data Analysis and Information Insights.
We are seeking to understand the opportunities that acquiring service information data can provide, improving how services are used and presented and, how the holistic system is able to perform. The opportunities we are looking to explore include, but are not limited to:
- Analytics of completed referrals:
i) What has been selected;
ii) What wasn't selected;
iii) Why services weren't selected;
iv) Patterns of behaviour;
v) What happens when services don't fulfil user needs;
vi) Insights to service utilisation;
vii) Predictive algorithms and machine learning capabilities;
viii) Clinical assessment data (retrieval and transmission to any clinical triage platform).
- The ability to simulate predictive service provision across the health care system, given scenarios such as historic behaviours, local and national contingency situations or pandemics, seasonal and public holiday variance.
- Any additional tools that may be applicable to ensure that commissioners and providers are able to access the data required for meaningful dashboards and reports.
- Utilising machine learning for improved understanding of cause and effect of variations and modifications in service provision and demand.
NHS England would like to engage with suppliers to understand how the clinical appropriateness of service information that is provided to users could be submitted by the receiving services to improve what patients are offered.

Section III: Legal, economic, financial and technical information

III.1)Conditions relating to the contract
III.1.1)Main financing conditions and payment arrangements and/or reference to the relevant provisions governing them:
III.2)Conditions for participation
III.2.1)Information about reserved contracts

Section VI: Complementary information

VI.1)Information about European Union funds
The contract is related to a project and/or programme financed by European Union funds: no
VI.2)Additional information:
The Contracting Authority intends to use an eTendering system in this procurement exercise and reserves the right to use a reverse auction.
This notice is published for information purposes and is not a call for competition. It is currently intended that a Contract Notice will be published as a call for competition once NHS England have concluded the pre- market engagement.
NHS England reserves the right not to commence any formal procurement process, to cancel any process that is commenced at any time and/or not to award any contract as a result of any such process; and will not be responsible for any costs incurred by Suppliers in entering into the pre - market engagement activity.
VI.3)Information on general regulatory framework
VI.4)Date of dispatch of this notice: