Key dates for adaptation to NHS e-Procurement Strategy
The e-Procurement Strategy initiative Initiative rolled out by the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is fully up and running. The Department of Health (DoH) decided to create a progressive adoption timeline, to facilitate the way into digitization, both in the different health trusts and organizations and their supplier companies.
Medical device companies are the earliest adopters of the new electronic system. For them, the British authorities have set out a total of 20 actions to be carried out between March 2016 and September 2020. All those involved in this initial e-Procurement Strategy phase must comply with the deadlines set for each of these tasks, and the next one is due to end in just two months.
Next NHS e-Procurement Strategy deadline: September 30
By September 30, NHS provider companies and their health agencies or trusts must comply with 5 phases of the e-Procurement Strategy:
In addition, the deadline for class IIb and IIa medical devices to be assigned their Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) for all packaging levels is approaching. Bear in mind that this action was already compulsory for class III devices as of last year.
As for labelling, these class III devices will now have to include GTIN labels in the barcodes of their products.
Finally, by September 30, all suppliers without exception must be able to submit electronic invoices to the NHS Access Points. This will be one of the most notable breakthroughs in rollout of the e-Procurement Strategy. Since last March, these companies have been able to receive electronic purchase orders, and before long all their business processes will become digital and automatic.
The next steps
Once the deadline of September 30 has passed, the next key date on the calendar will be March 31, 2018. By then, all companies will be ready to adopt e-procurement at corporate level. However, some technological changes in the systems will still be pending in order to adapt to the PEPPOL and GS1 standards set forth in the regulation.
This is one of the most ambitious public e-procurement initiatives in Europe. Once its implementation is completed in 2020, the DoH expects to achieve economic savings ranging from 5000 to 8000 pounds per bed. In addition, patient safety will be improved and product waste will be reduced by 10%, thanks to more precise management.
For supplier companies, the technological leap will also bring cost savings, an increase in productivity and automation of many of their business processes, among other benefits.