£19 million awarded to develop NHS Spine platform

NHS England has awarded a £19 million contract to Aire Logic Limited, to develop an open platform for NHS Spine services.

Through a four-year deal, the supplier will establish a “new, more open platform” that includes migrating existing services of the current NHS Spine platform. The programme will see the formation of “separate microservices on the cloud” said to “allow a greater rate of change on functionality”.

In February, NHS England opened a consultation for professionals across health and social care to input into future plans for national systems. This included an aim to understand what professionals need from the ‘Spine of the future’ and how technology can meet the current and future needs of patients, staff and citizens.

NHS England said at the time: “Through the programme we aim to remove barriers to access and innovation, and provide continuity of Spine services while enhancing the digital capability of the NHS.”

In March, a blog post was shared by NHS England discussing the future of the Spine platform and how the infrastructure is to grow inline with the advancing digitisation of health and care. Shan Rahulan (director of Spine Core) and Mark Burton (lead delivery manager of Spine Core and Spine Futures) discussed how the platform should evolve in the future to meet changing and growing demands.

“Over the next two to three years, we’re building a new, scalable Spine platform to replace the current one. We will be moving Spine products to the cloud, strengthening our resilience against potential future cyber-attacks, while changing to a product-centric operating model and ensuring all NHS architecture principles are complied with,” the authors note.

The Spine Futures vision is laid out: to provide “a secure, adaptable, and sustainable infrastructure for the health and care system in England, enabling data integration between care settings. This will create a platform for national digital services to be built upon to meet current and future needs of staff, patients and the public.”