Six companies have reportedly been shortlisted to run the Department of Health’s NHS Choices website, following an OJEU tender process, which came to an end in December.

According to HSJ magazine, the six shortlisted companies bidding for the three year, £80m contract, include the current provider Dr Foster Intelligence, the current provider, and much larger technology and service companies, Capita, Serco, Fujitsu, IBM and Tata Consultancy.

The chosen supplier will be responsible for expanding and operating the existing NHS Choices web service and, as the service evolves, investigation, and where needed development and operation of other electronic channels including mobile, kiosk and iDTV (Integrated Digital Television).

According to the magazine, other big names including Humana, Atos Origin and BT have failed to make it through to the second round following “strong interest”.

NHS Direct has offered its services to the bidders as a sub-contractor for NHS Choices.

Governance of the website will be retained by the DH but the government says it “now requires a professional, innovative, private sector supplier to manage and operate it.”

The service offers a wide range of accredited health information and services, from ‘Live Well’ magazine content aimed at specific audiences, through to a comprehensive Health A-Z for conditions and treatments, information and health services directories, scorecards and user feedback.

It is currently run by Dr Foster Intelligence, a joint venture by the NHS Information Centre and Dr Foster, whose contract to establish the service, and deliver and run the website, expires in March 2008.

The tender document says: “The supplier will be responsible for the majority of the business functions of the service including input into strategic direction, customer and market management, relations management with users and professionals, programme and technical development management and delivery and operations, including editorial and data content provision and publishing, live technical services operation and insight and feedback.”

The contract is expected to be signed in June after the DH evaluates final formal bids in late April.

A DH spokesperson was unable to confirm the HSJ report on the final shortlist when E-Health Insider contacted them.


NHS Choices