NHS Shared Business Services has launched a new e-procurement service that aims to help trusts and local surgeries buy goods and services at better prices.

The NHS SBS Commercial Procurement Solutions launch follows the publication of a report by the National Audit Office, which found that hospitals are overspending by at least £500 million a year. NHS Shared Business Services is a joint venture between the Department of Health and IT services firm Steria.

Health minister Lord Howe said: "Getting the best value for money for the NHS and the taxpayer is vital. I am pleased that this service will help NHS Trusts to manage their procurement in the most cost efficient way possible.” The government is targeting £1 billion in savings, from improved procurement, over the next five years, even though this equates to £200 million a year - significantly less that the NAO overspend estimate.

NHS SBS Commercial Procurement Solutions has been developed following the merger between NHS SBS and the North West Collaborative Commercial Agency (NWCCA).

John Neilson, chief executive of NHS Shared Business Services, said: “The government’s efficiency drive means that NHS Trusts will be expected to deliver even greater savings over the next five years.

"By working with NHS SBS Commercial Procurement Solutions, NHS Trusts will have access to a wide range of agreements that take advantage of economies of scale and established relationships with suppliers.”

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