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Teams Phone System for outbound calls Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

This article contains frequently asked questions about Teams Phone System for outbound calls, including guidance around getting started, key functionality and some simple troubleshooting tips.

Getting Started with Teams Phone System for outbound calls

How do I find out if my organisation has access to Teams Phone System for outbound calls?

If your organisation expressed an interest in onboarding to Teams Phone System for outbound calls you will automatically be given access.

If you have not yet expressed interest and would like access to Teams Phone System for outbound calls, please contact scwcsu.nhsei.winterpressures.advancedtelephony@nhs.net citing your practice name and ODS code..

As a Local Administrator, do I need to do anything to enable Teams Phone System for outbound calls for users at my organisation?

As part of the initial rollout (December 2021), practices that expressed an interest in onboarding to Teams Phone System for outbound calls will automatically be bulk assigned MS Phone System and Calling Plan licences to enable outbound calling. These licences will be allocated to users on your behalf to remove the administrative burden of updating user policies. If you are part of a participating practice, the new licences can be managed for your organisation via user policies as normal through the NHSmail portal. For more information on viewing, editing, or deleting a user policy, please see the User Policy Management support documentation.

IMPORTANT NOTE

As part of this rollout process a duplicate user policy will be created for all users in scope. You will be able to see this in the NHSmail portal with the naming convention existingname_GPphone. This is the same as any other user policy and can be amended by local administrators as appropriate.

Please note, it can take up to 24 hours for MS Teams to update once licences are assigned to users.

I want to start using Teams Phone System for outbound calls. What do I need to do?

The Teams Phone System for outbound calls will be available for participating GP practices from December 2021.

If you are a GP at a participating practice, Teams Phone System for outbound calls will be automatically available for you to use. The integrated dial pad will appear in the Teams Calls tab once it has been enabled. See the below image for what to expect when you visit the Calls tab.

If you are unsure whether you have access to Teams Phone System for outbound calls, please contact a Local Administrator at your organisation who can confirm if your organisation is participating.

We have a new member of staff who requires access to Teams Phone System for outbound calls. How do I go about this?

The NHSmail platform operates a standardised Joiner, Mover and Leaver process which is detailed on the NHSmail support site here and driven through the NHSmail portal. The Teams Phone System for outbound calls service will align with these standard processes. Should you wish to enable Teams Phone System for outbound calls for a new member of staff you can do this through the NHSmail portal. Guidance on how to do this is available here. Please note that this service is reserved for frontline GP practice staff. 

A member of staff has left my organisation. How do I remove their access to Teams Phone System for outbound calls?

The NHSmail platform operates a standardised Joiner, Mover and Leaver process which is detailed on the NHSmail support site here and driven through the NHSmail portal. The Teams Phone System for outbound calls service will align with these standard processes. For example, when a Local Administrator marks a user as a leaver, at the point they move into a different organisation, the Phone System licence will be removed and the capability will no longer be available to use. 

Where can I access training and implementation support for Teams Phone System for outbound calls?

Training and guidance materials will be available on the NHSmail support site here, as well as training materials on Microsoft’s training and support portal.

The NHSmail helpdesk will be available for implementation support. Contact the helpdesk at helpdesk@nhs.net or 0333 200 1133. 

Will Teams call history be visible on personal mobile devices?

Yes, all Teams calls made from mobile devices will be saved in the phones call history. This could vary depending on the phone model, it’s operating system and local configuration. It is recommended that Local Administrators complete an Information Governance (IG) assessment to determine suitable usage guidelines. Microsoft currently do not provide a technical solution to prevent this from occurring.

Using Teams Phone System for outbound calls

I want to call someone’s phone. How do I use Teams Phone System for outbound calls to call someone?

See the below steps on how to place a call using Teams Phone System for outbound calls. Alternatively, see the User Guide for more information.

 

1. Open MS Teams and locate the application bar on the left-hand side.

 

 

2. Click the Calls tab (it will have an icon that looks like a phone).

 

 

3. Use the integrated Dial Pad to enter the contact’s phone number, or copy / paste the number directly into the bar.

 

 

4. Once the number has been entered, click the Call button to place the call and start the conversation.

 

 

5. When the conversation has finished, click the red button to end the call.

 

I want to use Teams Phone System for outbound calls on the Teams app on my mobile phone. Can I do this?

You can use Teams Phone System for outbound calls on your Teams mobile application, web application and/or desktop application. If you are using Teams Phone System for outbound calls on your mobile phone, call quality will depend on signal strength and/or Wi-Fi connectivity.

For information on how to download the Microsoft Teams app to your mobile, see this article.

I want to put my call on hold. How do I do this?

Follow the below steps to put your call on hold. Alternatively, see the User Guide for more information.

1. When in a call, click the More Actions button (icon with 3 dots)

 

 

 

2. Click Hold

 

 

3. To resume the call, click Resume 

I want to transfer my call to someone else. How do I do this?

Follow the below steps to transfer your call. Alternatively, see the User Guide for more information.

 

1. When in a call, click the More Actions button (icon with 3 dots)

 

 

2. Click Transfer

 

 

3. Search for the person you want to transfer the call to

 

 

4. Select the person you want to transfer the call to and click Transfer

I need to move my call to a different device. How do I do this?

Teams Phone System for outbound calls is available to use on the Teams desktop, web, and mobile applications. Follow the below steps to transfer your call to a different device. Alternatively, see the User Guide for more information.

 

1. When in a call, click the More Actions button (icon with 3 dots)

 

 

2. Click Transfer

 

 

3. Search for your own name

 

 


4. Select your name and click You will then be able to answer the call on a different device through Teams.

I want to mute my microphone when making a call. How do I do this?

When in a call, click the microphone icon in the taskbar. To unmute, click this icon again.

Can I use Teams Phone System for outbound calls when I work from home?

Yes, Teams Phone System for outbound calls can be used when you work from home. Provided you are logged into your nhs.net Teams account, you can make calls from either a laptop, PC, or mobile device. 

Can I use a separate headset or microphone when making a call through Teams Phone System for outbound calls?

Yes, any headset or microphone compatible with your device can be used when making calls through Teams Phone System for outbound calls. 

Teams Phone System for outbound calls Functionality

Can I receive inbound calls on the Teams Phone System for outbound calls?

The national offer is Teams Phone System for outbound calls only. This means that all incoming calls via the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) are blocked.

Can I record calls I make with the Teams Phone System for outbound calls?

The recording feature is not currently available for Teams Phone System for outbound calls.

Can I turn on captions for my calls using Teams Phone System for outbound calls?

The captions feature is not currently available for Teams Phone System for outbound calls.

Can people see the caller ID when I make a call?

All outbound calls will show an anonymous caller ID. It is good practice to inform patients to expect a call from a withheld number.

Is it possible for a practice to uplift the offer to include incoming calls from external numbers within Teams?

No, this functionality is not currently supported on the platform. 

Will practices have to port their existing number to enable outbound calls using Teams?

Users will automatically be assigned a new number for the outbound only service. Number porting is not required.

I want to make a group call. Can I call more than one person at the same time?

Teams Phone System for outbound calls can be used for 1-1 phone calls. It cannot be used to make group calls.

Group video and audio calls can still be made as usual to other MS Teams users. See this article for more guidance on how to start a group Teams call.

Patients are missing appointments because they don’t pick up calls from withheld numbers. What should I do?

When calling patients and other external contacts through Teams Phone System for outbound calls, people receiving the calls will see a withheld number. This is to make the system more secure and prevent patients from calling you directly.

When an appointment is made, it would be useful to inform patients that they will receive a call from a withheld number to avoid missed appointments.

Can I make an emergency call using the Teams Phone System for outbound calls?

Making an emergency call from Teams Phone System for outbound calls should only be done as a last resort.

Due to the technical configuration of user phone numbers in this service, all emergency calls made through Teams Phone System for outbound calls will be routed through the London emergency team. It is therefore recommended that a different method is used to make an emergency call.

Are there any restrictions to how many calls I can make?

There are 1,200 minutes of outbound calls a month for every user onboarded to Teams Phone System for outbound calls. These minutes are covered centrally and pooled at a national level, so individual users are not strictly limited to this time.

Usage is monitored at a national level and local GP practices will be contacted directly if overall consumption is exceeding the limit. GP surgeries will not be charged if users exceed the allocated number of minutes.

Can I see how many minutes of calls have been used in my organisation?

Consumption reports for Teams Phone System for outbound calls are not currently generated at a local practice level. This is on the roadmap to be provided in the future, but usage is currently only recorded at a national tenant level. 

Is Teams Phone System for outbound calls integrated with clinical applications?

Teams Phone System for outbound calls is not linked to other applications, including clinical records.

Issues and Troubleshooting

I need to make outbound calls, but there is a problem with Teams. What should I do?

If there is a problem with Teams, then best practice is to revert to a landline.

Calls are bad quality or keep dropping. What should I do?

Network optimisation may be required if your users are experiencing any of the following issues:

  • Teams runs slowly (you may have insufficient bandwidth)
  • Calls keep dropping (this may be due to firewall or proxy blockers)
  • Calls sound static or cut out, or voices sound robotic (this may be jitter or packet loss)

It is important to note that based on Teams consumption across your organisation, there may be a requirement to uplift bandwidth in conjunction with your local network provider.

There are a series of self-help steps provided by Microsoft should you experience any issues when using Teams. Find these here

Are there any minimum bandwidth requirements for the Teams Phone System for outbound calls?

Teams is designed to give the best audio experience regardless of your network conditions. However, when bandwidth is insufficient Teams performance may be impacted.

For more information about Teams and bandwidth requirements see here.

What should I do if low bandwidth prevents the use of HSCN?

If low bandwidth prevents the use of HSCN, we recommend the following options:

  • Install an additional HSCN line for telephony (if timeframe permits)
  • Use a private internet connection (if already in place and of sufficient bandwidth)
  • Apply to access the levelling up funding available via the Better Connectivity for Health Programme
I have been given access to Teams Phone System for outbound calls but cannot see the integrated dial pad in the Calls Tab. What should I do?

The integrated dial pad does not always appear immediately after licence assignment. It can take up to 24 hours to appear in the Calls tab once licences are assigned.

Other

Does my organisation have to pay for Teams Phone System for outbound calls?

Teams Phone System for outbound calls is nationally funded until April 2023 and will include call charges. It does not have to be paid for by your local organisation.

My practice has just entered into a new contract with our telephony supplier. Do we still get this offer?

Yes, this offer is available to all general practices. If you have not yet expressed an interest in Teams Phone System for outbound calls, please contact scwcsu.nhsei.winterpressures.advancedtelephony@nhs.net citing your practice name and ODS code. 

A CCG put my practice forward to participate in Teams Phone System for outbound calls but I no longer wish to take up the offer. What do I do?

Your Local Administrators can actively remove access to the service. This can be done through user policies, where the Phone System and Calling Plan licenses can be turned off. 

Updated on 22/03/2022

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