Tender for Delivery of 24/7 SMS Based Crisis Helpline

Tender for Delivery of 24/7 SMS Based Crisis Helpline

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need of establishing a suitable health and wellbeing offer for all our staff.

Health and Wellbeing SMS helpline NHS staff crisis support

Contract summary



  • Health services – 85100000
  • Guidance and counselling services – 85312300
  • Counselling services – 85312320

Location of contract


Value of contract


Procurement reference


Published date

24 June 2021

Approach to market date

24 June 2021

Contract start date

15 July 2021

Contract end date

15 July 2022

Contract type

Service contract

Procedure type

Open (non-OJEU)

Contract is suitable for SMEs?


Contract is suitable for VCSEs?




Description of the Requirement
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need of establishing a suitable health and wellbeing offer for all our staff. As a result, we have operated a 24/7 national text helpline since April 2020, to support our NHS staff who are under enormous pressure every day.

Common themes have emerged in the past year and we want to continue supporting our staff with the below, but are not limited to:
• COVID-19
• Anxiety/Stress
• Depression/Sadness
• Isolation/Loneliness
• Relationships
• Suicide

The requirement is for an SMS based helpline, to continue to provide a psychological support offer for all NHS staff. This service will be provided for all staff during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and beyond.

The text service will offer NHS staff the opportunity to converse with trained crisis support workers, and if required will have access to qualified clinical support where needed. The requirement will be to run a 24/7 service, that can operate nationally, and is able to cater to all age groups and demographics. A 24/7 service is essential, crisis support late at night is a key requirement.

Additionally, the supplier should be able to provide anonymized and vital data, to the commissioning organisation, based on text conversations, in order to provide further understanding of emerging concerns and issues related to mental health among our workforce. Finally, the supplier should be able to provide some expertise in supporting communications and marketing, to raise awareness of the helpline.

Description of Deliverables
– 24/7 SMS based crisis helpline, able to be setup and delivered nationally, to all ages of NHS staff, with clinical oversight, providing immediate (in the moment), anonymous and confidential support for any NHS staff member requiring mental health or crisis support at any time
– Regular service data and statistics reporting, including identifying current/emerging themes on the helpline
– Regular service review meetings with commissioning organisation to support delivery of the service
– Regular marketing consultancy support
– Marketing content packages to promote the helpline
– Agreement to work with NHS England and Improvement on any deep dive or evaluation activities relating to the helpline

Pre-market Engagement
NHS England & Improvement are currently undertaking an options appraisal and as part of this have issued a Notice to the market to gauge supplier interest and capability in relation to delivering this service.

Current thinking is that NHS England & Improvement will enter into a 1-year contract with an approximate total value of £90,000 exclusive of applicable VAT.

Interested suppliers should read the details attached to the notice which specify further details about the requirement, how to register an interest in the possible procurement and the submission requirements for registering an interest.


How to apply

Follow the instructions given in the description or the more information section.


About the buyer


Contact name

Russell Greenwood


Quarry Hill