This funding that will be distributed via integrated care boards (ICBs), NHS England say the reimbursement will cover: “(i) any incumbent supplier costs; and (ii) implementation costs needed to transition including, the purchase of digital headsets.”
Practices will need to buy their new system from an approved supplier and should consult with their ICB about this. In 2025 the infrastructure that underpins analogue phone systems will be switched off, so practices will need to have moved to a cloud-based system by this point.
The full letter from NHS England on 6 November can be read here.
Update following 28 November letter from NHS England:
Additional national funding for practices with existing sub-optimal digital telephony systems is now available. Practices whose current systems do not have all the functionality listed in the recovery plan can ask for funding to source a digital solution from the approved supplier list. ICBS have a list of those practices eligible based on audit work already completed and will be submitting this list to the national procurement hub by Friday 5 December.
The hub will be writing out to the practices for expressions of interest to use a provider from the framework with a deadline of 5pm on 18 December to return this at a practice level, confirming they agree to:
- provide current telephony contract details including contract expiry date,
- engage with the NHS England National Commercial and Procurement Hub,
- select a supplier by 15 January 2024,
- sign the contract with the supplier by 10/12 February 2024, and
- go-live by 25 March 2024 latest
In the event of oversubscription ICBs and regions will agree the final list.
Practices signing up in principle will be considered by a national prioritisation panel scheduled for the week of 18 December, with representation from regional colleagues and ICBs, who will be asked to provide supporting information that they have collated during the period between 5 December and scheduled prioritisation panel.
The panel will then finalise the shortlist of prioritised practices based on information provided and available funding, and ICBs will be notified of the final allocation by 22 December.
Practices will need to confirm the provider by 12 January 2024 and signed the contract with the provider by 10/12 February 2024.
Funding is until the end of this financial year.