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NHS develops shared framework to reduce cost of buying clinical data systems

Caroline Baldwin

NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS) has developed a framework to help NHS Trusts buy clinical data systems.

The framework – which the NHS values at £1.25bn over six years – will save NHS trusts time and money by avoiding the long traditional tendering process when buying healthcare information systems.

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Trusts can look for local suppliers on the framework and hold small competitions, so suppliers can compete for work over a shorter time and at a lower cost.

Suppliers will benefit from reducing the costs incurred in submitting individual tenders.

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

NHS SBS director of procurement Peter Akid said the organisation had collaborated with clients to understand the needs of specialist information systems.

“Precisely because these are expensive specialist systems, trusts need to have the confidence that their chosen suppliers will deliver,” Akid said. “With this in mind, we will manage the framework, including rigorous supplier testing, to ensure complete governance and a compliant route to market.

“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.”

Saving money for the NHS

NHS SBS has invited suppliers to provide feedback and response to the framework through the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU).

NHS SBS is a joint venture with the Department of Health, which is run by Steria. The NHS SBS uses an Oracle platform and a single set of processes to run the back offices of NHS trusts. This is often cited as a great example of a successful shared services, which has been able to re-invest money into the NHS. It promises trusts up to 30% cost savings and has even paid millions of pounds back to the NHS.

Last year, the Department of Health announced a £1.2bn framework for GP Systems of Choice, a scheme that offers central funding for GP clinical IT systems.

This framework will last until 2015, with a maximum of 100 suppliers, and aims to provide a range of GP IT systems and related products and services to general practices in the NHS in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man.


Suppliers have until the 23 September 2014 to respond to the NHS SBS. They can find out more by contacting Thomas Slater, NHS SBS assistant director provider procurement on 0161 212 2420 or email: thomas_slater@nhs.net


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