£10 million investment is revolutionising NHS business services

Thursday September 14th, 2017

A £10 million investment by NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS), which is aimed at transforming back office functions across the health service, has led to 48 NHS organisations signing contracts for a range of finance, procurement and employment services (September 14th).Government Opportunities

Since the beginning of 2017, a number of leading NHS providers have made the switch to shared services, whilst more than 40 NHS organisations have renewed or extended their relationship with NHS SBS.

It means that, in total, NHS SBS now provides at least one business service to well over 100 different NHS providers and arm’s length bodies across the country. In addition, 100 per cent of England’s NHS commissioning organisations (currently around 250) use NHS SBS’s finance and accounting service – via NHS England’s Integrated Single Financial Environment (ISFE) – whilst almost a third of commissioners also benefit from other business services (employment services and/or procurement) provided by NHS SBS.

The Future Services Programme – the major investment underpinning the rise in the number of NHS organisations relying on NHS SBS to improve their back office – was launched last year after NHS SBS carried out a landmark review of the services it provides to the NHS. It is aimed at reducing NHS reliance on time-consuming, expensive, inconsistent, and often error-prone, paper processes, by developing new innovative ways of working that befit a modern healthcare system.

By investing in best of breed technologies, like robotics and automation, NHS SBS is providing the means for trusts to meet NHS Improvement (NHSI) spending targets and the efficiency savings identified by Lord Carter, whilst supporting the delivery of national policy, such as Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs).

One of the NHS trusts to sign a major new contract with NHS SBS earlier this year was the world-leading specialist heart and lung centre, Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. In light of the national efficiency imperatives, and to prepare for its relocation to a new purpose-built hospital, the Trust had a pressing need to modernise its finance, accounting and procurement processes. It turned to NHS SBS to replace an almost entirely paper-based back office with an innovative systems-led way of working, which has meant better control of expenditure, faster and more accurate financial processes, and far greater transparency.

Roy Clarke, Director of Finance at Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, explained:

To achieve the back office efficiency savings set out by Lord Carter and ensure robust systems at a time of significant change for the Trust – as we move to a brand new hospital – modernising our business functions through NHS SBS, particularly with its experience of working with so many other parts of the NHS, was seen as a key element to underpin our wider Trust strategy.

Our business services play an important role in supporting our clinicians to deliver world-class patient care, by providing them with the best possible platform that ensures they have the right tools and information at the right time. With NHS SBS we’ve seen a leap in the maturity of our systems in a very short space of time.”

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