The Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) for online consultations was established to support the online consultations initiative, and it includes an approved online and video consultation supplier list. This was set up to support CCGs/STPs to award contracts to those suppliers on the DPS, safe in the knowledge that those suppliers had gone through scrutiny and were compliant with the online consultations technical standards.
Online consultations rapid procurement in response to COVID-19
As part of the response to COVID-19, all practices were asked to move to a total triage model to protect patients and staff from avoidable risks of infection. Total triage means that every patient contacting the practice is first triaged before deciding what steps need to be taken to support that patient. Total triage is important to reduce avoidable footfall into practices and protect patients and staff from the risks of infection. While total triage can be carried out entirely by telephone, this is less efficient than using an online consultation system to support the triage process.
To support practices to move to total triage, a rapid procurement for online consultations was run nationally against the DPS. This enables STPs/CCGs to call off online consultation and video consultation solutions without the need for a mini competition. Commissioners who wish to utilise this arrangement should select the lot or lots they require, in consultation with representatives of practices and the relevant LMC. A supplier will then be allocated to commissioners based on the lot selected. There are three lots for digital triage (via online consultations) and one lot for video solutions. Suppliers will be randomly allocated within the selected lot. If there is a strategic reason why a particular supplier is preferred, there is an option to use a single tender waiver to enable this. A list of suppliers that have been approved via the rapid procurement is available on our website.
To discuss a rapid procurement under this mechanism please contact the procurement hub at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New procurement framework from 2021
In addition to the DPS there is also a second procurement route for online consultation and video consultation solutions via the GP IT Futures framework established by NHS Digital. From 2021 we will be bringing these together into a single new framework under the Digital Care Services Catalogue (the DCS). This will then be available for commissioners to buy nationally assured online consultation and video consultation products for general practice, with the intention that this framework will include all products currently in use. This new arrangement will be available to all suppliers on the current GP IT Futures framework or on the DPS and other suppliers will also be able to apply. The new arrangement will bring together the requirements under the existing frameworks into a single set of consistent requirements and standards. Online consultations and video consultations will be treated as separate capabilities and suppliers will be able to offer one or the other or both.
Procurement undertaken via the new framework will benefit from achieving greater consistency across digital solutions as well as improved clarity on the product(s) being offered by different suppliers. The framework will also support better integration between GP clinical systems and online consolation and video consultation systems. Once the new framework has been established under the Digital Care Services Catalogue, the DPS will be closed down.