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Providing iPads to care homes with NHSX

When COVID-19 safety concerns meant care home residents were unable to see family members and friends in person, finding a way to connect them to their loved ones digitally became a key priority. This project, supporting NHSX, saw us work around the clock to deploy 11,000 iPads to care homes with limited access to technology across England, as we sought to do our bit in the country’s efforts against the virus.

Mike Laskey

Following a competitive tendering process, we worked to develop a solution that would ensure the smooth delivery of the devices to the allocated care home locations and provide the best possible user experience for care home residents and staff.

iPad was chosen because Apple technology is well suited to the current situation as it is easy to use, secure and offers good value for money.

This solution included a managed service with full remote management of devices, a service desk providing support to care homes using ITIL best practices, and the staging and shipping of around 750 devices every day of the week. Asset tracking gave our customer live visibility of how the project’s deployments to over 9,000 different care homes were progressing, meaning every iPad was delivered last winter, and we used Apple Business Manager in conjunction with Jamf as a mobile device management platform to help administer all the iPads remotely.

Colleagues from right across Jigsaw24, representing almost all of our departments and specialisms, embarked on a gargantuan effort to provide the highest possible level of customer service. The configuration and warehouse teams put in extra hours at the Nottingham headquarters in a COVID-safe manner while the rest of the country was working from home.

The project was commissioned by NHSX via the Crown Commercial Service’s Technology Products and Associated Services framework, which ensured our customer enjoyed the security of working with a pre-vetted supplier and quicker procurement timescales for a better all-round experience.

Ready on arrival

A key requirement for the project was the pre-configuration of devices. It was vital that when the iPads arrived at their destinations, they could be used straight out of the box to initiate calls with loved ones, hold video consultations with health and social care professionals, reorder medications and access The Summary Care Record.

To achieve this, our staging team configured, charged and applied screen protectors to each and every single iPad that arrived at our warehouse – no small feat when we had around seven pallets of devices on our doorstep a day on average. In fact, the team was setting up around 750 iPads a day on average in an effort that saw us test, upgrade and monitor our own WiFi infrastructure and capacity to ensure they could be staged with maximum efficiency.

Meanwhile, a modified version of our existing asset tracking app allowed us to provide live data on where every iPad was at any given time. Using this system and information from our delivery partner, our internal team developed bespoke tools and a customised dashboard that gave the customer an up-to-the-minute map, allowing both them and us to ensure every delivery was completed on schedule.

Upon arrival, the devices could be given straight to users and begin making a difference without delay. Now, these iPads are continuing to improve care, and for many are used every day.

Tracey Turner, Care Home Manager at The Heights Care Home, said: “Many of our residents have had no contact with their families since March 2020. The iPad will enable them to see the smiling faces of their loved ones, promoting their general and mental health.

“iPads delivered by Jigsaw24 have been an asset to connect families visually. A big thank you to Jigsaw24 for making this possible!”

Matthew Gould, Chief Executive of NHSX, said: "For tens of thousands of people living in care homes, iPads have been a link to their loved ones during the pandemic, as well as enabling video consultations with their GPs. We made sure we worked with partners to get the iPads into care homes ahead of Christmas.

"NHSX is committed to ensuring the social care sector can use technology to improve the care it gives."

The best user experience

Our Apple experts developed a bespoke mobile device management platform for the project that would enable each iPad to be updated, locked or administered remotely and securely.

Self Service enabled staff to quickly request and download pre-approved software, and we worked closely with Jamf to roll out a pre-installed ‘Virtual Visits’ app, making it even easier for residents to video call their families.

The iPads were also provided in a sanitisable protective case with a range of apps already installed, while our in-house marketing team produced an instructional booklet and videos to help users get to grips with their new device and perform simple everyday tasks easily.

These carefully prepared booklets and videos covered actions like changing the iPad’s passcode, installing apps, changing camera or microphone permissions, and – crucially – how to initiate a video call with a loved one. Easy-to-understand language, clear photographs of individual steps and screen captures meant our instructions would make using a tablet device for the first time that little bit more comfortable and less daunting for those less familiar with technology.

The end result saw 11,000 iPads arrive pre-configured and ready to use at over 9,000 care homes across England, where they could play a vital role in keeping people connected.

Our hard work, determination and extra effort achieved an incredibly successful deployment, with every device arriving on time at the homes – all without any of the normal issues found in a major deployment.

Laura-Jane Turner, Sales Operations Director at Jigsaw24, said: “We are so proud to have helped get devices in the hands of those who need them most – especially when people were feeling particularly isolated.

“The iPads we have provided have helped and are still helping care home residents and staff alike, and our Apple specialists are available to make sure every home can enjoy the full benefit of their devices.”

Our frameworks

The Crown Commercial Service’s Technology Products and Associated Services is just one of the frameworks we're included in. For the full list, visit our Frameworks page.

Download this case study as a PDF here.

Want to know more about deploying Apple in the public sector? Call the team on 03332 409 255 or email For the latest news, follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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