• Free cyber security improvements available to trusts from winter 
  • NHS Digital agrees multimillion pound deal with private supplier 
  • Uptake is not mandatory 

NHS Digital has signed a £40m deal with a multinational technology company in a bid to improve NHS trusts’ cyber security with “cutting-edge technology”.

The agency has awarded Accenture a five-year contract, under which the company will help trusts to improve their firewalls, web content filtering, and network intrusion detection.

Accenture – a professional services company specialising in digital, technology, and consultancy – saw off competition from another unnamed bidder to win the contract, which was tendered by NHS Digital in February this year.

The deal has been struck 15 months after parts of the NHS were badly affected by the WannaCry attack.

The services offered under the contract will be rolled out to NHS trusts free of charge during this winter. Uptake is not mandatory.

Rob Shaw, deputy chief executive of NHS Digital, said the deal would provide trusts with “cutting-edge technology that will help keep patient information and NHS systems safe”.

He encouraged trusts to take advantage of the service offered, adding: “The more organisations that join the better we will be able to see what is happening across the estate. This means we will be able to monitor for threats more effectively, supporting the NHS to increase data security and helping to provide safer care for patients.”

The contract was procured in collaboration with the National Cyber Security Centre and NHSX.

Last October, HSJ revealed NHS Digital estimated the cost of getting every trust to meet a minimum standard for cyber security was between £800m and £1bn, which the body’s cyber security committee believed would “not be value for money”.