Wales gives all NHS staff access to Microsoft 365 as part of huge tech shake-up

Every public sector health worker in Wales will be given access to Microsoft programs such as Outlook and Teams as part of a country-wide focus on digital transformation.

More than 100,000 NHS employees, including GPs, consultants, nurses, therapists, paramedics and support staff, can now use Microsoft 365 to find new ways of securely sharing information with colleagues and improve how they deliver healthcare to millions of patients.

Outlook, Teams, OneDrive, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, SharePoint and Yammer will be available to staff on multiple devices, such as phones, tablets and laptops, opening up the possibility of consultations and meetings being held quickly and easily via video conferencing. The move is expected to help NHS staff save money and time by not having to travel to face-to-face meetings, freeing them up to focus on patients who need the most help.

Andrew Griffiths, Director of NHS Wales Informatics Service, said: “This new national agreement is part of our commitment to refresh NHS Wales IT infrastructure and ensure it supports the transformational changes taking place across health and social care. It moves our digital estate away from locally managed services and into cloud-based services, delivering efficiencies and economies of scale.

“Frontline staff who work in our health and care services rely on technology, to help them deliver services in new, innovative ways that put the needs of patients first. I am very pleased that we are able to deliver the most up to date tools to our NHS Wales staff to help them with the fantastic work they do every day.”

The agreement also includes an upgrade to Windows 10 E5, which includes cutting-edge security features, such as Advanced Threat Protection to prevent, detect, investigate and respond to potential risks.

“It’s essential that NHS Wales has secure systems that health staff and patients trust and this agreement will help achieve that,” Griffiths added. “It will increase resilience and mean our services are running on the most up-to-date operating system at all times.”

It is the latest agreement between Microsoft and the public sector in Wales and was brokered via Trustmarque, the NHS Wales Microsoft licensing partner. In March, the country became one of the first in the world to give all local authority schools access to Microsoft 365.

The Welsh Government paid for all 1,521 “maintained” schools to have access to programs such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint, in a bid to boost the use of technology among pupils and reduce costs for families and headteachers.

Paramedics in a street

More than 100,000 NHS employees, including, paramedics, can now use Microsoft 365

As part of the £1.2 million investment, which is expected to benefit around 467,000 young people, all teachers and students will be able to download and install the latest version of Office 365 ProPlus on up to five personal devices. Pupils can then collaborate and continue learning at home using the same programs as they do in the classroom.

Chris Perkins, General Manager for Public Sector at Microsoft UK, said: “I am delighted to see Wales continue its digital transformation by putting powerful technology in the hands of those who really need it. While today’s announcement will directly affect 100,000 NHS staff, the benefits will also be felt by the millions of people that frontline health workers meet and care for.

“I am proud that Microsoft is helping the Welsh government on its journey to being digital-first and leading the way on using technology to benefit everyone.”