NHS Shared Business Services has launched a procurement service that it says will help NHS trusts and GP consortia to get the right prices for items they need to buy.

The Commercial Procurement Solutions service will use the information gathered from NHS SBS’s database of more than £31 billion worth of transactions made every year made by the NHS, to encourage trusts to outsource procurement work to NHS SBS centres.

John Neilson, managing director of NHS SBS told eHealth Insider: “Our database allows us to undertake analytics on that spend, not just at the high category level, but down to specific items and even product code, as well as who has been purchasing them.”

He said that the service will support much more joined up purchasing strategies by NHS organisations and help them decide whether they are really getting a good deal.  

Neilson added: “There’s a big opportunity here to help GP consortia negotiate and manage better deals with trusts and for trusts to become more efficient and have a better understanding of the business they’re going to receive from GP consortia – particularly in a new world where consortia will be freer to buy what they want from hospitals."

Last month Neilson, managing director of NHS Shared Business Services, said more than £1 billion was being wasted by NHS trusts, which are often paying different prices for identical equipment.

Neilson said: "It’s scary. We actually have multiple prices being paid for the same item in the same trust, in the same month."

He said that equipment such as computers were being bought at needlessly high prices – wasting around 12% of the NHS’s purchasing budget.

The organisation believes that the new service, if rolled out across the country, could drive efficiencies of more than £1 billion over the next five years by getting better deals and also saving on administration.

The National Audit Office recently issued a report identifying wasted procurement opportunities in the NHS.

However, it noted that one problem that NHS organisations faced were the many different bodies aiming to deliver shared procurement services, and the lack of benchmarking data available to help them decide between them.