NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS), the IT procurement framework developed by the NHS and its shared services partnership with IT services firm Steria, has gone live.
The clinical information systems procurement framework, which will run for at least four years, has 26 suppliers.
Suppliers named on the framework include HP, CSC, Atos, Northgate Information Systems, CGI and Civica.
Because much of the contracting specifications are already agreed it means NHS organisations do not have to go through the full Official Journal of the European Union process, saving time and money.
The framework was announced in August 2014. It 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 organisations are able to localise their requirements and hold mini-competitions with suppliers on the framework.
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NHS SBS is a joint venture with the Department of Health, which is run by Steria. It uses an Oracle platform and a single set of processes to run the back offices of NHS trusts.
The shared service promises trusts up to 30% cost savings and has even paid millions of pounds back to the NHS.
NHS SBS director of procurement Peter Akid said the framework will reduce the time it takes to buy systems and save tens of thousands of pounds in the process.
System interoperability and integration were important capabilities expected of suppliers and their systems.
“As part of this process, interoperability and integration of the systems was a key consideration and so too was the ability of NHS trusts to fine-tune the products to their particular requirements,” said Akid.