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NHS Shared Business Services developing procurement framework

NHS Shared Business Services (SBS) has revealed it is developing an NHS-wide procurement framework for healthcare clinical information systems.

The organisation offers business support services for the NHS, in partnership with over 50% of all Trusts.

It is a joint venture between the Department of Health (DoH) and IT business services provider Steria that aimed to save the NHS £224m by 2015, but has already done so 15 months ahead of schedule.

According to NHS SBS, the aim is to save Trusts the time and money that is associated with procuring specialist systems individually.

It is hoped that by utilising the new framework, NHS Trusts will be able to avoid the full Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) tender process, which can often take up to a year to complete and costs tens of thousands of pounds.

As an alternative, under the new system, healthcare organisations would be able to localise requirements and hold mini competitions in a reduced timeframe and less costly procedure.

“The agreement is the result of months of collaboration with our client to identify just what their needs will be for these complex and specialist systems in the future,” claimed NHS SBS director of procurement Peter Akid.

“This, combined with our procurement expertise has given us the confidence to know we can procure a national framework that nonetheless can still be tailored to meet the local needs of each Trust,” he added.

Benefits for suppliers and trusts

The organisation has published a contract notice in the OJEU stating its intentions.

The document says the contract is expected to last for a four-year period with the option to extend for a further two years – after this, subsequent contracts will be awarded for a maximum of five years and the option to extend for two.

The framework is divided into six lots: healthcare clinical information systems, theatre clinical systems, integrated emergency care systems, child health systems, maternity systems and specialist electronic prescribing clinical systems.

“For suppliers, the framework will provide greater opportunities by opening up the market to them and they will ultimately benefits by not incurring the expenditure that would potentially be involved with submitting individual tenders,” claimed Akid.

“This initiative represents how a more strategic approach to procurement frameworks, based on a thorough examination of what Trusts will actually need in the future, can deliver far greater savings and benefits,” he added.