The NHS has said it will save £6.5 million in the first year of a joint procurement deal for desktops and laptops.

Six buying groups, known as Collaborative Procurement Hubs and representing 220 NHS trusts, will save the combined total after signing the deal with the support of national procurement body OGCbuying.solutions. The IT suppliers are Dell and HP, as well as DSGi, the business sales arm of the Dixons Stores Group.

Calling the deal “ground breaking”, trusts in West Midlands, Luton, London, the east of England, Yorkshire and Humber, the rest of the North East, the North west and south central, said they would benefit from the new arrangement.

The NHS said it is one of the largest buyers of IT in the country, procuring, on average, 120,000 PCs each year. It is expected that around 52,000 desktops and 8,500 laptops will be bought under the deal. Collaborative procurement hubs have delivered £275 million savings since their launch in 2004.

The arrangement falls outside of the £12.7 billion National Programme for IT, which covers more complex systems including digital patient care records and electronic prescriptions services. But the procurement hubs were advised by Connecting for Health, the agency responsible for the NPfIT, in order to make sure the technology will link into it.

Dave Smith, category manager at OGCbuying.solutions, said the deal was "truly a collaborative procurement". He added: "The six procurement hubs recognised that their requirements for IT equipment were common. It made sense, therefore, to take full advantage of this excellent opportunity to collaborate.”

Speaking on behalf of the six hubs, Gareth Davies of Pro-Cure, the hub representing trusts across the South Central region, added: "The contract means trusts will now be able to buy higher specification hardware while at the same time saving at least 20 percent on previous prices.”

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