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NHS Connecting for Health (CfH) has awarded a contract to Fujitsu Services to provide service desk support for its National Programme for IT.

The contract, announced on 19 April 2006, is valued at £41m for the core service and will run for seven years to 2013. It is aimed at providing more in-depth support for new applications than is available from the existing service desk.

It will provide technical support for the major applications of the National Progamme, including the Care Record Service, Choose and Book (for handling GP referrals for secondary care), the Electronic Prescriptions Service and Picture Archiving and Communications Service.

The contract has two elements. A national service desk will provide the core services through four contact centres at Wakefield, Stevenage, Manchester and Footscray. They will be able to receive enquiries by phone, fax, email and internal intranets.

A spokesperson for Fujitsu Services told Government Computing News the firm will ensure the relevant expertise is at hand through "ongoing training of staff and close working with the NHS".

Up to 870,000 NHS staff will have access to the service when fully operational. At its peak it is anticipated that the service desk will manage approximately 4m calls per year.

The second element is a framework of optional services to provide service desk support for a wider range of IT systems and services. This arrangement allows NHS organisations to take advantage of nationally negotiated prices.

The new service desk will replace and scale up the existing NHS Connecting for Health National Service Desk. Following a transition period, it is anticipated that services will transfer to Fujitsu during autumn 2006.

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

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