Amazon Web Services has secured a contract worth up to £15m over 10 years to host a national digital platform for healthcare in Scotland.

The procurement notice was posted on the Public Contracts Scotland website last week and marks a key milestone in the NHS’s journey in Scotland to improve the quality of care and patient outcomes.

To that end, details of the contract indicate that cloud-hosted platform will enable the creation and deployment of data in real-time at the point of care, including through self-service.

It will also operate to a ‘predictable architecture which will enable new and innovative products to be developed and implemented across the health and care system’ and ‘enable the use of data at scale for quality improvement and to support research and innovation’.

The development comes three years after the national digital health and care strategy was published, which committed to ensuring the interoperability of systems by developing a national health and social care services digital platform through which real-time data and information from health and care records ‘is available to those who need it, when they need it, wherever they are, in a secure and safe way’.

The notice states: “The cloud infrastructure would be used to host the NDP including: repositories for storing structured and unstructured clinical data, web services to power web and mobile applications, an integration layer and web apps.”

An NHS Education for Scotland spokesperson said: “Last year, NHS Education for Scotland put out to tender a contract for the provision of public cloud services to host the National Digital Platform (NDP), a commitment under the Scottish Government’s Digital Health and Care Strategy from 2018. 

“This contract was awarded following public contract guidelines and meeting NCSC security principles.

“Amazon Web Services will provide cloud infrastructure services to host the platform for up to ten years. These include powering health-based web and mobile applications and an integration layer.

“The platform already hosts Scotland’s national vaccination records and the Protect Scotland app, both of which have directly helped in the fight against Covid-19. We will continue to use the service to help improve the health and care of people in Scotland, ensuring greater flexibility in the products we can offer as we look to build on our work over the past year.”

According to the notice, AWS – which registered its address as in Luxembourg – was awarded the contract after a ‘competitive procedure with negotiation’. Three tenders – none from SMEs – were received but the unsuccessful fellow bidders were not named.

In terms of security, the stipulation was that the service must be compliant with cloud principles set by the National Cyber Security Centre.

It added: “The cloud services need to include platform as a service and infrastructure as a service, with provision for virtual networks, on demand computing and data storage.”