US tech giant awarded £780,000 vaccine appointment system contract

NHS Scotland has awarded a US tech giant a contract worth hundreds of thousands of pounds to deliver the software through which Scots will be able to book their Covid-19 vaccine.

A US tech giant has been awarded a major NHS Scotland contract relating to the vaccine roll-out.

ServiceNow, a United States based software development company, was directly awarded the contract with no formal tender process due to "competition being absent for technical reasons".

The company had a turnover of more than $3 billion and made a profit of $40m in 2019 and will receive £783,182 for the contract.

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It is the latest in a line of contracts being awarded to the private sector and comes a week after KPMG was awarded a further £2.3m for "management and advisory services”.

According to the Public Contracts Scotland website, ServiceNow will deliver a “vaccination solution for citizens in Scotland to be able to view appointments, schedule and reschedule appointments”.

This will deliver the “national booking system” announced by the health secretary Jeane Freeman in November which she said would be in place by phase two of the roll-out, after the majority of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation priority list is vaccinated.

On their website, ServiceNow describe themselves as: “At ServiceNow, we are customer zero. We relentlessly use the Now Platform to create digital workflows that deliver great experiences and unlock our productivity.”

The contract notice states: “This is a directly awarded contract between the authority on behalf of NHS Scotland to meet the additional demands of the Scottish Health and Social Care sector during the current Covid-19 pandemic.

“This award has been approved on the basis of competition being absent for technical reasons.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The national scheduling system will be built using the existing NHS NSS Service Now platform and will be fully operational this month as planned. The NHS NSS Service Now platform has been in place across all NHS Health Boards for over three years, and the rapid development of the patient appointment process for Covid Vaccinations is maximising the functionality and integrations already available. A separate contract is not required for this work, however a public contract notice was issued in the interests of being transparent about the work taking place.”

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