An online advertising service that will help "hook up" NHS providers with healthcare suppliers was announced yesterday (16 September) by Health Minister Ben Bradshaw.
According to Mr Bradshaw, the new website, NHS Supply2Health, will make it easier for PCT commissioners to advertise health and social care services they require and for suppliers to identify business opportunities within the NHS.
From 1 October 2008, all NHS commissioners will be required to post information about tendering opportunities and contract awards on the site, intended to make it easier for suppliers to track down single opportunities and understand exactly what PCTs want.
For commissioners, Supply2Health is aimed to help meet their legal requirements to advertise and potentially increase the number of suppliers responding to their adverts by reaching a wider audience.
It will also offer services, including emailing subscribers where new opportunities are posted that match the health and social care services they provide.
Mr Bradshaw said: "We are committed to make it easier to do business with the NHS. And in complex healthcare market we realise it's not easy to find the perfect match.
"Talking to providers of all types, what was keeping people awake at night was the thought they may have missed an opportunity.
"With no one place for PCTs to advertise, contract or tendering ads can appear in all number of places, and can be easily missed. The new online service NHS Supply2Health will ensure well matched suppliers and contractors can hook up.
"NHS Supply2Health will sit alongside existing regulations and make it easier to comply with European Union procurement regulations."
Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)
"Depends on whether the site operates more efficiently than another site already in existance for government projects. The site should allow smaller projects to work quickly and smaller companies to be able to bid. Normally the tendering process for government contracts is so complex that small companies or those set up recently with no long trading history are excluded in favour of the usual household names. That almost inevitably delays proceedings and send up the costs. The devil will be in the detail" – Name and address withheld