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NHS Digital seeks suppliers for Covid-19 testing service

The NHS Digital tender aims to find a partner to handle the development, delivery and running of the coronavirus testing service

NHS Digital is looking for a supplier to handle the development and delivery of the Covid-19 testing service.

Under a contract that is expected to last approximately two years, depending on what happens with the pandemic in the UK, the new partner will perform the digital aspects of the service, which, according to NHS Digital, needs to be hardened.

The testing service was originally created for essential workers and went live in Alpha phase in April 2020 and was later expanded, opening to the general public on 18 May 2020.

In its new phase, the service aims to support the distribution of up to 30,000 home antigen test kits daily, up from the current capacity of approximately 15,000 kits each day, with antibody testing being a future possibility.

According to the tender, which at the time of writing had attracted mostly small and medium suppliers, NHS Digital expects to be “significant development and delivery work within the first three months of this contract”, which needs to meet ongoing emerging demands and ensure the service is resilient and scalable, with monitoring and alerting in place.

The supplier will be required to use their own product and delivery managers to handle the project, while providing full delivery support for the day-to-day operational running of the service, which, according to NHS Digital, is expected to include “automating the service as much as possible”.

Work within an ecosystem of suppliers and all stakeholders involved in the home service team will also be part of the project. Beyond NHS Digital and health service digital unit NHSX – which led the initial design, development and build – the multiple organisations and suppliers working in the testing service include Kainos, TheServerLabs, Difrent, AWS and Deloitte Digital, as well as Amazon Logistics.

The closing date for applications is Friday 19 June 2020.

Read more about the NHS during the Covid-19 outbreak

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