IT services multinational, EDS, has finalised a $142m (£91m) deal to develop and deliver a full e-mail and directory service for NHS staff.
EDS was first announced as the preferred bidder for the contract in May when the company was chosen ahead of Syntegra, the networking arm of British Telecom.
The new service will give NHS staff a personal mailbox which can be used at work, at home or while travelling. Staff will also be able to keep their much-simplified “nhs.net” e-mail address as they take up new posts in the NHS within England, Wales or Northern Ireland. An EDS spokeswoman said the agreement did not yet cover Scotland.
The directory service will also offer staff access to contact details for NHS staff, an electronic calendar and the facility to run group calendars.
It is being introduced at early adopter sites named as the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Trust in Woolwich, London, and three West Midlands PCTs in Wednesbury and West Bromwich, Oldbury and Smethwick, and Rowley Regis and Tipton.
During future phases, EDS says the system will be further enhanced with additional services including instant messaging, Internet access and remote access via PDS and mobile phones.
Bill Thomas, president of EDS UK, Ireland, Middle East and Africa, said, “By developing a universal e-mail system, EDS is helping build the foundations on which the NHS can achieve improved performance and delivery of high quality patient care. This will speed up communications and help modernise the health service.” Carrie Armitage, the NHSIA’s head of access to information, said, “This agreement is a critical element in the NHSIA’s work to develop and efficient infrastructure for the NHS and it meets the Department of Health’s target to give all NHS staff access to e-mail by March next year.”