Department of health about to issue new NHS e-procurement strategy

Posted on 20th September 2013 | Share

The government has announced to unveil its new e-procurement strategy this month following a 35-page strategy document that was published by the Department of Health in August 2013.

According to health Minister Dr. Dan Poulter the new strategy will help the NHS “to build a modern, effective and efficient procurement capability that is among the best in the world”, supporting the 2013 spending round commitments. By the end of 2015-16 the NHS will have to realise savings of £1.5 billion through improved efficiencies from its procurement of goods and services.

The report outlines two main areas of improvement that finance teams need to focus on. How well they are prepared to do so depends mainly on the capabilities of their current procurement system:

Reducing Expenditure


  • In order to maximise its purchasing power, NHS trusts need to be able to drill down and dissect their spend. Within acute trusts the biggest non-pay expenditure apart from drugs and pharmacy sits with clinical supplies and services such as medical devices and consumables at £4.5 billion. In order to identify potential cost savings, finance and procurement systems need to provide instant access to reporting and spend analysis per department, supplier, category and product etc.
  • Buying teams need a catalogue management system that provides a one-stop shop to easily compare prices and suppliers, challenge price rises and negotiate better deals where possible.
  • With a focus on supporting economic growth the report states the opportunity for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and demonstrates that significant savings can be achieved by comparing the prices of brand leaders to less expensive SME providers. Supplier management needs to step up its game for procurement teams to be able to easily include SMEs in the quoting process and overall supply chain.

Improve data, information and transparency

  • In order to analyse and share expenditure throughout the NHS, the new procurement strategy will mandate the use of GS1 as the supply chain coding standard. If not already in place, procurement systems need to be updated to include and match the GS1 coding structure.
  • To achieve the overall aim of providing greater transparency NHS trusts will be required to publish all procurement data on their website. Once in the public domain, the data does not only need to be 100% reliable and accurate, procurement teams also need to be able to easily generate the reports and analysis to provide the data in the first place.

Meeting the new requirements will keep NHS procurement teams busy across the UK. However, there is good news for Integra customers who should find themselves in a good shape to comply with the new standards by making the most out of their Integra modules such as:

  • Integra Business Intelligence – Pulls together a number of powerful reporting tools into one business interface. Dashboards and drill-down functionality allow for quick and easy KPI and spend analysis. Reliable data accuracy provides peace of mind when the data goes public.
  • Integra Catalogue Expert - Provides trusts with a one-stop-shop to access high-quality catalogues with accurate product and pricing information. It combines and automatically updates third party catalogue providers such as GHX and NHS supply chain and has the GS1 coding structure already included.
  • Integra Supplier Portal – Extends the Integra system to suppliers and helps to streamline the procurement processes by providing a dynamic way to interact and collaborate with vendors. New SME-size suppliers can be easily added and invited to quote to ensure competitive pricing.

To read the full report issued by the Department of Health click here.

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