Suffolk technology company working with NHS to roll out coronavirus vaccine

A scientist wearing a mask holds a vial of coronavirus vaccine

Suffolk-based company X-on has developed a telephone system that the NHS will use as it rolls out the Covid-19 vaccine. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A telephone system developed by a Framlingham-based technology company will be used by GPs across the country to help vaccinate patients against Covid-19.

Paul Bensley, managing director of X-on, said orders for Surgery Connect - the firm's cloud-based telephone system - had increased in the last few weeks as surgeries prepared for a coronavirus vaccine.

"We've been receiving demand from primary care networks (PCNs) regarding the vaccination hubs," he said.

"It's been a slight change of direction for us but it's a reuse of an existing product to serve vaccination hubs rather than just general appointment bookings and online consultations."

The system will be important during the vaccine rollout as GP surgeries work together to vaccinate patients quickly.

"The vaccine might lead to so many calls that one surgery alone can't answer them all," Mr Bensley said.

"So it allows a receptionist at another surgery to take the call and deal with booking in the appointment because they have access to the system.

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"It creates like a call centre that's distributed across a number of places."

X-on, which works with doctors surgeries and PCNs across England and Wales, also saw an increased demand for its products early on in the pandemic as doctors surgeries moved to seeing patients online.

This led to the company developing a 'softphone' built into an internet browser to allow medical staff to work from home during the first national lockdown without having specialist kit installed.

Mr Bensley said: "It means rather than installing a phone system on the desk you can effectively have the phone in your computer. Meaning we can provide the service within hours rather than the traditional weeks that it took to install."

The firm also added the ability to carry out a consultation over video - to help cut down on the possible spread of the virus.

X-on has been based in Framlingham Technology Centre since 2003.

In that time it has grown from just two staff at the beginning to employing around 60 today.

Mr Bensley said the company plans to expand into Scotland in the near future.

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