The current scope is for appointment management solutions, but this will develop over time.
Advice on appointment management solutions
Software solutions can increase automation of the process of booking patients into coronavirus vaccination appointments. This can include enabling patients to directly book appointments online and automating reminders to those who have not yet booked.
To support Primary Care Networks (PCNs) to manage appointment booking in the most efficient way possible, national funding is available to pay for these solutions under a national contract.
National funding will cover the cost of the booking solutions themselves, and there will also be £2 million of funding for Clinical Commission Groups (CCGs) and Primary Care Networks (PCNs) to support the network costs of additional SMS messages.
Solutions will be progressed through the assurance approach very quickly - it's anticipated that several solutions will complete assurance over the next week. While all solutions will provide the required capabilities to a minimum standard, some will provide greater functionality to practices.
PCNs and CCGs should consider this when comparing solutions that have been assured and deciding which system to use.
Appointment management solutions
The national contract has now been established. Below are the solutions we currently expect to participate in the contract once they have been through assurance.
PCNs should consider which system meets their needs.
Updates will be made to the list as soon as solutions are assured and/or as other solutions come forward to participate, with the expectation that other solutions will be added over the coming weeks. Other digital system suppliers currently outside of the Digital Care Services Catalogue will be able to apply in due course. A process for this is currently being developed.
Access to EMIS Web will be under existing contracts, so no additional process is necessary if PCNs use this as their booking solution.
PCNs can decide to use a system in advance of assurance being in place, on the assumption that use of the system will then fall under national arrangements, but PCNs would do this at their own risk.
PCNs may continue to use existing booking solutions where preferred. If PCNs choose to procure and pay for booking solutions locally, NHS England and NHS Improvement advise that there is a process to ensure the system meets the published requirements, as well as relevant standards on IG, clinical safety and cyber security.
Procurement through the GP IT Futures framework
These services will be funded centrally, so are available free of charge to PCNs, excluding costs of additional SMS messages. Separate funding of £2 million is available to support SMS messaging costs. There is no tie in to the solution selected now and commissioners can change to another solution if they wish to, giving one month’s notice.
Once a solution is under the national contract, the process for a PCN to obtain access to that system is either for the PCN or CCG coordinating on behalf of a PCN or PCNs to use the process advised by the selected supplier (see table above), or to follow this process:
The PCN or CCG coordinating on behalf of a PCN/s should request access to the contracted solution via email to
The PCN or CCG on their behalf should provide the following information within their email:
all PCNs codes (ODS codes) included in the order
confirm that they understand that they will need to pay for SMS messages directly - there is a separate £2 million national fund to support network costs of additional SMS messages which might be incurred
provide an address and contact for SMS invoices to be sent to - this does not have to be within the PCN, it could be a CCG address. Any invoices for SMS costs will be sent directly from the supplier to the PCN/CCG. Where there is already a local arrangement in place for managing SMS under a bulk contract, SMS costs can be managed in this way.
Once completed, we will place the order on contract and advise the PCN or CCG of their need to participate in confirmation of ‘Service Live’, functioning appropriately as per contract requirements for their Service Instance (M1, m2).