Digital Focus: providing a reliable service to our customers

  • 01/06/2022
  • Written by NOE CPC

The procurement industry has faced unprecedented challenges in recent months, with recent price rises adding to challenges caused by supply chain issues as a result of Covid-19 pressures and Brexit.

Our IT and Digital frameworks have not been immune to those challenges but our team of experts have used their innovation and skills to navigate their way through and continue to provide a reliable service to our customers.

With the formation of Integrated Care Systems on top of these recent challenges, the opportunities for development, collaboration and innovation have never been more important.

NHS North of England Commercial Procurement Collaborative (NOE CPC) has adapted to its customers’ needs during the pandemic by helping trusts locate the goods and services needed for home working and the wider IT environment, including end user devices for the front line, infrastructure adaptations and developments which needed to be deployed at short notice.

The PTOM Digital team, along with Crown Commercial Service (CCS) and NOE CPC, bought 87,000 end user devices (EUDs) between the autumn of 2021 and March 2022 by pooling demand across the NHS.

The EUD pooling project was launched to meet the usual increased year-end demand from NHS trusts for end user devices, such as tablets and laptops, and to take into account the unusual global IT market conditions at the time.  There were global supply issues, price increases, known supply shortages on certain devices and components and extended lead times in supply chains. 

The project saved Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and procurement leads time by providing expertise in digital category buying.

By pooling demand from over 40 trusts and engaging with the market, the pooling project brought savings in the region of 5 to 12% despite the short project timescales and supplier constraints.

More recently, NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSEI) has recommended four NOE CPC frameworks in the IT and Digital category as being among the most optimal routes to market for NHS buyers.

With these endorsements, NHSEI aims to reduce duplication in the IT and digital market whilst ensuring the high quality and standards that the NHS requires.

This feeds into NHSEI’s new six pillar approach – which has been devised to sub-categorise the varied products and services in the digital landscape. They have been grouped together based on their function and supplier market capabilities.

NHSEI has also worked alongside the ICT Category team to develop a new ICT framework, Total Technology Solutions, due to go live in August.

Alison Petrie, Senior Category Manager for ICT (Digital) at NOE CPC, said: “The NHS agenda for ICT, whether being delivered locally, regionally or nationally is under focus and it remains strategically important that NOE CPC is at the forefront of these developments over the coming months and years.

As an organisation and the ICT category within, we are continuously adapting our knowledge of the ICT market to inform our own category strategy and objectives. This is to ultimately support our procurement and IT colleagues across the NHS in achieving their local ICT objectives, which includes innovations desired by supplier markets and innovation being developed internally across the NHS.”

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