Call for tech specialists to help solve 8am rush for GP appointments 

NHS England invites tenders for new framework to enhance capabilities to provide online consultations and improve communication with patients 

Anyone who’s tried booking a GP appointment will know what it can be like: you ring the practice as soon as they open at 8am, and there’s already a queue of callers ahead of you. Surely there’s a better, les

GP working at a desk

Photo courtesy of NHS England

s frustrating way of doing things. NHS England is hoping that tech experts will be able to help. 


The ‘Digital Pathways Framework’ is now open for tenders and proposals for new, advanced digital systems that will improve the management of appointment bookings, messaging and consultations in GP practices across the country. It’s one of a range of commercial frameworks that aims to enable buyers in primary care to purchase standardised and assured digital systems. 

The framework will include new tech systems that cater for online consultations, administrative request reporting, online patient or service user consultation, care navigation, and online administrative requests. There is also potential for systems that enhance prescription ordering for patients, communication management, video consultations, record viewing for patients, and cross-organisational appointment booking.  

Full details of the framework can be found on the NHS Digital site. Interested suppliers can view the invitation to tender for the Digital Pathways Project on the supplier portal Atamis (project ref. C193795),as well as on the government’s own Contracts Finder site and Finder a Tender site. The deadline for the receipt of tenders or requests to participate is November 17, 2023. 

Mark Sayers, Director of Digital Primary Care at NHS England, says: ‘Surgeries with modern messaging, online booking, and video consultation systems find they have more capacity and less of an 8am rush, while giving patients a convenient way to get the help they need. 

‘I’d encourage all suppliers to come forward who are able to provide the high-quality tools and technology needed to support our vision for modern general practice.’  

Health Minister Neil O’Brien adds: ‘As well as growing staff numbers in GPs by 30% since 2019, we are also investing £240 million to give GPs the latest technology. We are working to abolish the 8am rush and make it easier to see your GP in a convenient way.’ 

Earlier this year, the government also announced that general practices across England will receive £240m to embrace the latest technology, with funding expected to cover a four-year period from January 2024 to 2028.  

In related news:

Ashfield District Council installs life-saving defibrillators 

Leeds completes four-year telecare upgrade 

Digital phonelines for all GPs by March


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