Ian Hogan, CIO at Leeds and York Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, has said that the NHS has overcomplicated the procurement process, in a lively session at Rewired 2024.

Taking place on day two on the Innovation Stage, Hogan said that “we’ve [the NHS] overcomplicated the whole procurement process” in a session titled “Innovation Masterclass: Why is the NHS so difficult to sell to?”

He said another key reason that makes it difficult for innovators to implement their products is the fact they attempt to sell a solution that does not fix the problems of the trust they are trying to sell to.

“I don’t want someone selling me a solution to a problem I haven’t got,” Hogan claimed. “Come with a known solution for a known problem”, he said.

Asked whether innovators should even bother attempting to sell their products to the NHS, given how challenging it is, he insisted “we need you”.

However he added that NHS trusts “need to be a little bit more courageous and a little bit more challenging” in order to give those trying to sell to the NHS more of a fighting chance. “I don’t envy anybody who’s trying to sell,” he said.

Samantha Fay, CEO at SiSU Health, was also a part of the discussion on the Innovation Stage. She said “the procurement process has never been the same” and because they are all different, it makes selling to the NHS tricky to navigate.

She stressed the importance of innovators having evidence to present to trusts so they can include it in their business use cases when presenting to various stakeholders.

Senior NHS navigator at DigitalHealth.London, Ruth Bradbury, completed the panel, and was sympathetic towards those trying to sell. “Selling is hard,” she said. “We’re talking about health and people’s lives… it can’t be easy.”

However she echoed views from across the room that innovators must not give up because the NHS needs them. “The NHS cannot itself produce all the solutions to its problems.”