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Using Microsoft Teams for outbound telephone calls

What is Teams Phone System for outbound calls?

To support GP practices, NHS Digital are releasing Teams Phone System for outbound calls. This is a nationally funded service provided at no cost for organisations that have requested to participate. These organisations will be assigned Microsoft (MS) 365 Phone System and Calling Plan licences providing the option to make calls to external phones through the MS Teams platform. This service is independent of existing telephone systems.

Teams Phone System for outbound calls can be used through MS Teams to call the mobile or landline telephones of patients and other external contacts in a secure, straightforward way. It can be used for patient telephone appointments.

IMPORTANT NOTE:

You will only be able to place outbound calls to external phone numbers. Teams Phone System for outbound calls does not allow inbound telephone calls.

Teams Phone System for outbound calls is available for participating GP practices from December 2021. To find out whether you work for a participating practice and have access to Teams Phone System for outbound calls, please contact your Local Administrator.

Benefits of using Teams Phone System for outbound calls

Free up existing phone line capacity for incoming calls Save time and reduce dialling errors by copying / pasting phone numbers into the dial pad Integrated in MS Teams means no new technology to learn No additional cost for participating GP practices
A secure way to reach patients and other external contacts Available to use on desktop, web, and mobile applications Patients only need access to their telephones to receive a call from their GP surgery

When is Teams Phone System for outbound calls most suitable for GP Practice Staff?

  • Existing practice telephone lines are full
  • You are using your personal mobile devices to phone patients
  • You have access to MS Teams on a computer or mobile device alongside the necessary headset, speakers or microphones
  • You work remotely

Key considerations

  • Teams Phone System for outbound calls is a supplementary service available to participating GP practices from December 2021
  • Teams Phone System for outbound calls is a service to be used for outbound calls to free up existing phone line capacity for inbound calls from your patients
  • Teams Phone System for outbound calls does not allow incoming calls to MS Teams from an external phone
  • Using Teams Phone System for outbound calls requires internet connectivity. See here for more details
  • Patients and other external contacts who receive your calls will see a withheld number and will not be able to return your call
  • Access to a microphone and speakers is required if the device being used does not have these inbuilt. A headset would be needed if privacy is required
  • You can only place calls to UK domestic landlines and mobiles using Teams Phone System for outbound calls
  • You are not able to record calls using Teams Phone System for outbound calls

Functionality of Teams Phone System for outbound calls

Teams Phone System for outbound calls offers a secure, straightforward way to call patients and other external contacts when practice telephone lines are full.

Make outbound calls to patients and other external contacts through MS Teams Use the Dial Pad to manually dial a phone number or copy/paste into the bar
All calls are anonymised to stay safe and secure Place a call on hold to pause the conversation and play default hold music
Transfer a call to another person or a different device for when you’re on the move Mute your microphone to block out unwanted background noise as you listen

How to use Teams Phone System for outbound calls

Watch the following video for information on how to use Teams Phone System for outbound calls. Step-by-step instructions can also be found below.

 

How to call a patient (or other external contact)

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 integrate 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.

 

 

How to place a call on hold
IMPORTANT NOTE:

While a call is on hold you are able to phone someone else using Teams Phone System for outbound calls.

This feature will be useful if you need to consult a colleague during a patient consultation.

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

 

 

2. Click Hold.

 

 

 


3. To resume the call, click Resume.

 

 

How to transfer a call to another person or device

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

 

 

2. Click Transfer

 

 

 

3. Search for the person you want to transfer the call to. If you want to switch to a different device, search for your own name.

 

 

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

 

 

How to consult a colleague before transferring a call to them

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

 

 

2. Click Consult then Transfer.

 

 

 

3. Search for and select the person you wish to transfer the call to.

 

 

4. Click Consult

The person on the other end of the call will be put on hold and hear default hold music.

 

5. Type a message to the selected person and click the triangular send button to ask whether they are available to accept the call.

 

 

6. When you get a response, click Transfer.

If the person cannot accept the call, click Stop consulting to return to the call.

 

Further Help & Support

See this Infographic for a downloadable overview of Teams Phone System for outbound calls.

See this Get Started Guide for a downloadable step-by-step guide.

Check out Frequently Asked Questions for additional guidance.

For any further issues, please contact your Local Administrator.

See here for more information about MS Teams.

Last Reviewed Date 10/12/2021
Updated on 05/07/2022

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