Virtual Consultation Platform – Soft Market Engagement

Virtual Consultation Platform – Soft Market Engagement

The aim of soft market engagement is to appraise the market to inform final specification and the commercial model.

United Kingdom-Manchester: Video conferencing software development services

2020/S 235-581480

Prior information notice

This notice is for prior information only


Legal Basis:

Directive 2014/24/EU

Section I: Contracting authority

I.1)Name and addresses

Official name: The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust
Postal address: Trust Headquarters North Manchester General Hospital, Delaunays Rd, Crumpsall
Town: Manchester
NUTS code: UKD37 Greater Manchester North East
Postal code: M8 5RB
Country: United Kingdom
Internet address(es):
Main address:

I.1)Name and addresses

Official name: Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust
Postal address: Stott Lane
Town: Salford
NUTS code: UKD3 Greater Manchester
Postal code: M8 5RB
Country: United Kingdom
Internet address(es):
Main address:

I.2)Information about joint procurement

The contract involves joint procurement


Additional information can be obtained from the abovementioned address

I.4)Type of the contracting authority

Body governed by public law

I.5)Main activity


Section II: Object

II.1)Scope of the procurement


Virtual Consultation Platform


Reference number: Soft Market Engagement

II.1.2)Main CPV code

72212515 Video conferencing software development services

II.1.3)Type of contract


II.1.4)Short description:


The Trust is committed to normalising the use of video and telephone as a format to deliver patient care.

To do this successfully, the Trust requires a solution that is part of the administration process, is simple to use, is stable and reliable, inter-operable and considers not just the consultation itself, but the additional elements required to make remote clinical decision making as safe and meaningful as face to face interaction such as remote monitoring, observations, vital signs and patient communication tools.

Our intention is to commence soft market engagement to understand the industry innovation ahead of commissioning of the service.


II.1.5)Estimated total value

II.1.6)Information about lots

This contract is divided into lots: no

II.2.3)Place of performance

NUTS code: UKD3 Greater Manchester
Main site or place of performance:

Greater Manchester.


II.2.4)Description of the procurement:


This notice is intended for soft market engagement only and for companies to express interest. The market appears to be rich with options, various pricing models and functionalities. The aim of soft market engagement is to appraise the market to inform final specification and the commercial model.

If you wish to engage with the NCA, please contact Ellie Tivinan, Senior Procurement Manager on

Expressions of interest are to be submitted by noon, 11 December 2020.


II.2.14)Additional information

II.3)Estimated date of publication of contract notice:


Section IV: Procedure


IV.1.8)Information about the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA)

The procurement is covered by the Government Procurement Agreement: yes

Section VI: Complementary information

VI.3)Additional information:


The restrictions of Covid resulted in a conversion to telephone consultations by default and a request from clinicians to have urgent access to a tool to communicate with patients via video, where appropriate.

An interim solution to meet this need was deployed across the Northern Care Alliance in March 2020 as a proof of concept (POC). The scope of the deployment was to provide clinicians with quick and easy access to a tool for virtual/video consultation should they need it. It did not include any change to the clinic practice, process or documentation i.e. documentation to be completed (including the completion of the clinic outcome form).

Post POC, our productivity team completed a number of user workshops with high attendance from community, acute and AHP teams from across the NCA. User and patient feedback was collected about what worked well and what could be done to improve the experience for both patients and users.

This feedback identified a number of areas limiting the successful use including:

1) The patient, carer or family member needs the ability to test their audio, video and network ahead of the online consultation;

2) A telephone service is required within the application to quickly revert format from video to telephone as necessary;

3) The system must provide a waiting/lobby area so that patients can attend themselves into a waiting area/online at their allocated appointment time;

4) The system must provide the function to have a virtual receptionist who can complete data quality checks and manage expectations of waiting times with messages to patients who are within the virtual waiting/lobby area;

5) The system must capture the entry time of the patient arriving in the virtual waiting/lobby area and be able to send an HL7 message of this time to update external systems;

6) The system must allow for the clinician or patient to be able to send a one-way message to each other;

7) The system should be able to capture outcomes from consultations and the functionality should be locally configurable to switch on or off;

8) A test environment for the Trust to complete end user testing before any upgrades;

9) The capability to check-in patients automatically, including patient demographic checks;

10) The system to have the ability to invite a third party into the online consultation prior (up to several weeks in advance) to the online consultation. (It should allow more than 4 people);

11) The system must consider the additional tools needed to aid remote consultations and make them as effective as face to face care such as remote monitoring, observations, vital signs and patient communication tools;

12) The system to have the ability to carry out Group Therapy/MDT sessions with multiple participants and breakout areas/zones;

13) The system to have the ability to be able share screens i.e. x-ray images from PACS.

The NHS 5-year plan detailed the need to deliver 60 % of outpatient activity by video and telephone which Covid restrictions have accelerated further.

During Covid, most virtual consultation tools have been freely available for POC trials, for the 20/21 fiscal year. It is crucial to complete market engagement now to understand the market, potential cost and benefit of introducing the system for wider use.

A project team has been set up at NCA and a clinical lead and SRO will be identified ahead of the project.

A range of surgical and medical consultants, AHP, nursing, operational management and elective access staff have been identified for this exercise. When assessing the video consultation tools this team will consider:

1) Entry and exit processes for patient, clinician and supporting services (elective access, health records);

2) Reliability and platform stability;

3) Operability with trust systems;

4) Telephone capability;

5) Any extended use functionality (eg, pre/post appointment questionnaires and feedback surveys from patients);

6) Security and IG assurance;

7) Data quality and reporting.


VI.5)Date of dispatch of this notice: