A group of NHS trusts have predicted that they will savings of nearly 30%  on IT hardware by using an online auction.

Using the online auction some 137 NHS trusts, organised into six regional consortia, were able to save nearly a third off all the desktops and laptops they needed over the next 18-months.

Projected savings from the e-auction were put at over £4.5m, which should reduce the bill for PC equipment from £16m to £11.5m. The total package includes over 21,000 desktop PCs and nearly 4,500 laptops. Details of the contracts are due to be finalised shortly.

During the course of the e-auction 11 IT hardware suppliers battled to win the business of 137 NHS trusts, representing almost a third of the NHS in England.

The event was led and hosted by Hull and East Yorkshire NHS Trust which originated the idea, and co-ordinated by its procurement manager, Malcolm Tell.

The two hour online e-auction was run by NHS Collaborative Procurement organisations, and organized by the Office of Government Commerce’s (OGC’s) coordinated procurement division and overseen by TradingPartners.

Held on 21 October the event was the second of OGC’s programme of IT hardware eAuctions. The first event involved Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, and Thames Valley NHS Procurement Confederations.

There were six viewing centres across the country on 21 October. The suppliers remained anonymous throughout the process to ensure fair competition. Suppliers will now have until Wednesday 25 October to submit their full tenders with value added elements for consideration.

The 11 suppliers who participated in the eAuction were all selected from the OGCbuying.solutions Framework Agreement. 25 suppliers had been invited to submit specification proposals. By using the framework the procurement did not have to be advertised in OJEU.

Stephen Greep, chief executive of Hull and East Yorkshire NHS Trust, and chairman of the strategic procurement and supply board for the local SHA said: "I am delighted that this initiative has the potential to deliver significant financial benefits. In turn, these will deliver innovative solutions for the benefit of patients and frontline services in the NHS."

John Oughton, chief executive of the OGC, said: "This is a great example of how the public sector can work together to achieve savings for the taxpayer that can be ploughed back into frontline services."

Chirag Shah, TradingPartners’ CEO said: "We were very pleased with this latest example showing how e-auctions can deliver results for the public sector."

NHS organisations that took part in the 21 October event included: Greater Manchester Collaborative Procurement Hub; Procurement North East NHS Procurement Confederation; Lifesource Collaborative Procurement Hub (Staffordshire and Shropshire); Healthcare Purchasing Consortium (West Midlands); North Central London NHS Procurement Confederation; and South West Peninsula Local Health Communities.