Future opportunity

NHSX Market Engagement Questionnaire for Digital Pharmacy, Optometry, Dentistry, Ambulance and Community (PODAC) - Optometry Services

  • NHSX

F01: Prior information notice (prior information only)

Notice reference: 2021/S 000-030860

Published 10 December 2021, 4:33pm

Section one: Contracting authority

one.1) Name and addresses


Quarry House, Quarry Hill




Garry Mitchell




+44 7786275627


United Kingdom

NUTS code

UK - United Kingdom

Internet address(es)

Main address


Buyer's address


one.3) Communication

The procurement documents are available for unrestricted and full direct access, free of charge, at


Additional information can be obtained from the above-mentioned address

one.4) Type of the contracting authority

Body governed by public law

one.5) Main activity


Section two: Object

two.1) Scope of the procurement

two.1.1) Title

NHSX Market Engagement Questionnaire for Digital Pharmacy, Optometry, Dentistry, Ambulance and Community (PODAC) - Optometry Services

two.1.2) Main CPV code

  • 72200000 - Software programming and consultancy services

two.1.3) Type of contract


two.1.4) Short description

NHSX are conducting Market Engagement with interested Suppliers to investigate the current market capabilities to develop possible solutions to shape the digital technology solutions available to Dental Services as part of NHSX's Digital Pharmacy, Optometry, Dentistry, Ambulance, and community (PODAC) programme.

Interested Suppliers are invited to complete a questionnaire that has been designed to develop an understanding of the current maturity of Suppliers in the market and the ability to meet the digital PODAC capabilities. The questionnaire and further detail on the digital PODAC capabilities are available via the Intend e-procurement system.

This engagement is an information gathering exercise only. It will help inform the PODAC commercial strategy and any future procurement thinking and is not a procurement exercise in itself.

two.1.6) Information about lots

This contract is divided into lots: No

two.2) Description

two.2.2) Additional CPV code(s)

  • 48000000 - Software package and information systems
  • 72212180 - Medical software development services
  • 72230000 - Custom software development services
  • 72240000 - Systems analysis and programming services

two.2.3) Place of performance

NUTS codes
  • UK - United Kingdom

two.2.4) Description of the procurement

Most of the primary eye care in England is provided by optometrists in high street optical practices, conducting more than 13 million NHS sight tests across England per year and detecting any early signs of eye disease.

The project aims to understand the availability of solutions that can support NHSX to further digitise Optometry services by enabling optometrist services to connect with each other more effectively and with other healthcare providers, right along the wider health and care systems. This will in turn increase the transparency and access to services and enable better communications between clinical teams and services, ultimately improving patient experience and pathway performance.

There are several digital developments in progress in optometry, many of which have helped to partially address these challenges.

• Remote services - building on the work of the Covid-19 urgent and emergency eye care services (CUES), offering remote consultations (with follow-up face-to-face appointments or onward referral) for 75% of the population in England.

• eGOS - Primary Care Support England (PCSE) has introduced new paper forms that can be read using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology, as well as electronic payment claim forms.

• Migration to NHSmail - processes are in place for providers to gain access to NHSmail, and many practices have already successfully completed this.

• Electronic eyecare referral systems - the recently introduced dynamic purchasing system (DPS) is designed to support faster, more informed procurement of systems that have been nationally assessed against set criteria.

Interested suppliers are invited to complete a questionnaire that has been designed to develop an understanding of the current maturity of suppliers in the market and the ability to meet the PODAC Priorities listed below:

• We will continue to scale up the sharing of OCT digital images, so that every integrated care system (ICS) area has access to these facilities.

• Acceleration of e-referral platforms with operability for picture archive and communications systems (PACS), to support shared access to these high-resolution images.

• Where there are referral pathways in place from general practice we will work with the bookings and referrals programme to develop standards for electronic referrals to optometry practices.

• Greater choice and control by providing national support where required for optometry practices to enable patient appointment booking, as part of the development of a minimum viable solution.

• We will work with a number of local systems to explore the integration of optometry records within local health care records, and particularly the articulation of the benefits to be gained from integration.

We will continue to enhance remote services, developing AI technologies to help enable this.

This will be achieved through:

● Expanding image sharing capability to more providers across the system, including voluntary, community and social enterprise sector (VCSE) and hospital eye services (HES) providers.

● Enabling the digital transfer of clinically-relevant information into patient records for a wider range of services and pathways.

● Development of a separate roadmap for interoperability and supporting pilot sites to explore integration of care records.

● Support the development of blueprints for the digital eyecare hubs as part of the National Eye Care Recovery and Transformation Programme, to support connectivity and ensure a consistent standard is implemented across the country.

Further information on digital Capabilities are included in the presentation that is available via the in-tend portal.

The National Commercial & Procurement Hub is conducting this market engagement on behalf of NHSX. The questionnaire and further detail on the PODAC capabilities are available via the In-tend. Information gathered through this market engagement activity will help inform the PODAC commercial strategy and any possible future procurement process. This market engagement will not impact on participation in any procurement process.

For the sake of clarity, respondents should note that their information will be held as commercial in confidence and solely used for the purpose of strategy formation.

Should you wish to participate in this exercise please register through the Intend e-procurement system (https://in-tendhost.co.uk/scwcsu/aspx/Home) for further instructions. If you require any further assistance, please contact commercial.procurementhub@nhs.net.

The deadline for completing the questionnaire is 17.00 on 10th January 2022.

two.2.14) Additional information

For the avoidance of doubt, this notice is an information gathering exercise rather than a call for competition in its own right, and therefore publication or response does not commit the commissioner(s) to a future procurement, nor provide any process exemptions or preferential treatment to any parties expressing an interest. NHSX will not be liable for costs incurred by any interested party in participating in this exercise.

two.3) Estimated date of publication of contract notice

1 April 2022

Section four. Procedure

four.1) Description

four.1.8) Information about the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA)

The procurement is covered by the Government Procurement Agreement: Yes

Section six. Complementary information

six.3) Additional information

Further material is available after registration on the in-tend portal