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Realising millions from transforming procurement in the NHS

NHS SBS has partnered with leading technology companies to bring cutting edge retail solutions to market with the introduction of two online eMarketplaces. Designed to revolutionise the way NHS organisations and people buy products and services, realising millions of pounds worth of savings and efficiencies.

The Edge for Health and PHBChoices address two different healthcare markets - one for hospitals and the other for commissioners and their Personal Health Budget (PHB) holders. The former was born from the analysis of data into the cost of, and variation in, procuring across the NHS and client feedback, specifically around iProc. The other was in response to an opportunity that was identified internally.

The Edge for Health,a cloud based system using the same technology that powers Tesco's click and collect, allows hospital staff to move away from time consuming manual processes to 'procure to pay' in one place - one trust alone is anticipating a 40 per cent saving. The system has been refined for the NHS, specifically how it interfaces with current IT systems and processes, to help providers respond to strategic objectives set out by NHS England and the Lord Carter report.

Offered free to all NHS organisations, The Edge for Health will transform catalogue management, purchase order compliance and invoice processing. Plus it will give procurement teams greater negotiating power around pricing and visibility around contract management.

The system is currently in user-testing phase, and feedback from pilot sites has been positive. The benefits of the system include:

  • Quicker procurement through a user-friendly system with little training required

  • A richer user-experience with more information prior to decision-making including images, attributes, descriptions and case studies ensuring purchase of the right product first time

  • Opportunities to discover new suppliers and innovations to the market at the lowest possible prices

  • Improved requisition approval processes to allow control of non-pay spend approval by users within the organisation

  • Intelligent reporting, allowing the opportunity for benchmarking, forward forecasting, tighter spend controls and improved inventory management

Conversely, PHBChoices is an innovative personal care marketplace with a familiar look and feel to those who buy goods and services online. It provides a seamless end-to-end process for the management of personal health budgets.

PHBChoices provides the PHB holder with a virtual budget through an online account created by their Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). PHB holders (or their carers) can then buy products and services in line with the support plan agreed with their CCG from an online marketplace that is available all the time that features national, regional and local suppliers. The system offers CCGs many benefits, including time efficiencies and the removal of paper and manual forms, whilst creating a valuable electronic record and history of PHB holder activity. It is also integrated into the Integrated Single Financial Environment, providing a seamless end-to-end solution for the administration and management of PHBs.

PHBChoices is live and available to all CCGs; it is being used by a growing number of CCGs and Personal Health Budget holders already with interest growing rapidly.

We are currently actively engaged with over 50 CCGs and we are planning on "going live" with a number of them in the next couple of months. PHBChoices already has over 100 suppliers and with increased on-boarding activity over 1,500 are expected to be added by the end of April. For more information on any of these exciting marketplaces and how they can help you please email: For more information on any of these exciting marketplaces and how they can help you please email:

For more information on any of these exciting marketplaces and how they can help you please email:

 The Edge for Health edge.client@nhs.net.

 PHBChoices SBS-B.phbchoices@nhs.net.

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