Implementing the National eProcurement Strategy across South West of England NHS Trusts

The ‘Raising our game’ strategy was published in May 2012 and its purpose was to describe actions needed to improve procurement in the NHS. Following this ‘Better Procurement Better Value Better Care’ was published in August 2013 and this set out details of the NHS Procurement Development Programme. More recently, the NHS ‘eProcurement strategy’ was published in April 2014. Implementation of the eProcurement strategy will fundamentally change the NHS, making it more efficient and helping it to save £billions in the coming years.

Even before publication of the NHS eProcurement Strategy, we commenced working with National Programme Leads in building knowledge and awareness. We are the major collaborative in the region and we are currently working with our members to establish how best to provide the support needed to help them implement the eProcurement strategy.

The building blocks of the Strategy are the adoption of GS1 Standards in regards to products and locations, the adoption of PEPPOL standards for the electronic transmission of purchase orders, invoices and shipping/delivery notes and also the increased application of technological solutions in areas like inventory management, patient and device identification. The Department of Health (DH) will procure elements of the strategy including an NHS Data Pool (for products and Trust pricing data), a Product Information Management solution (providing high quality product data for integration with Trust purchasing systems) and a national data factory for spend analysis. These advances will allow greater efficiency, better quality data and increased interoperability of systems in the NHS.

Implementation of the strategy is in its initial stages and at present the DH is targeting Acute Trusts. Chief Executives at Acute Trusts have been asked by the DH to appoint a non-executive director to champion the strategy at Board level and a ‘GS1 Lead’ to take responsibility for implementing the strategy across the Trust. The GS1 Lead is expected to be a director or senior manager who has a broad area of influence within the Trust, a mix of skills and patient care responsibility. GS1 Leads have been asked to appoint a ‘GS1 Manager’ who will manage the programme of change across the Trust.

Trusts should be aware that there are three primary use cases which should be deployed first. There are three core, enabling measures that need to be implemented before any of the use cases can be deployed and these are as shown below. They provide the foundation for further use cases, which Trusts may proceed to adopt as they fully exploit and benefit from the strategy.

Primary Use Cases







High level guidance is now available for Trust GS1 Leads via the Centre For Procurement Excellence (CPE) portal. In addition, information relevant to GS1 Leads may be accessed here, in the private area of our website (requires log in).

GS1 Standards in Healthcare:

GS1 youtube channel:

eProcurement Strategy PDF:

We are assisting the following Trusts:

  • Cornwall Partnership NHS Trust
  • Devon Partnership NHS Trust
  • Dorset County Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust
  • North Devon Healthcare NHS Trust
  • Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust
  • Royal United Hospital Bath NHS Trust
  • Salisbury Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
  • South Devon Healthcare NHS Trust
  • Taunton & Somerset NHS Foundation Trust
  • Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust