CCS urges SMEs to join HSCN market

Procurement body says dynamic purchasing system provides scope for smaller firms to offer services on Health and Social Care network

Crown Commercial Services (CCS) and NHS Digital have issued a public call for SMEs to provide digital services that link to the Health and Social Care Network (HSCN).

Abstract - IT devices connected to serverThe two bodies have said the dynamic purchasing system (DPS) for the HSCN is now live but that companies still have the chance to join the framework.

This contrasts with the more traditional procurement framework for services for the network’s predecessor, N3, which was closed to new suppliers once it was live.

They said the HSCN, the gradual implementation of which has now begun, could be worth up to £500 million to suppliers over the next six and a half years.

Encouraging competition

Niall Quinn, CCS strategic director for technology, said: “We aim to create a vibrant and dynamic marketplace that increases choice for health and care providers while encouraging competition between a greater number and range of suppliers, including SMEs.

“All suppliers have to be HSCN Stage 1 compliant to join the DPS. The DPS application process has been simplified and removes the traditional lengthy framework tender process, removing the cost and resource required for that process.

“Once onboard, suppliers will be able to bid to deliver the service to thousands of public sector organisations across the UK.”

Stage 1 compliance demonstrates that a supplier can deliver connectivity while adhering to the relevant standards.

NHS Digital, which is responsible for the management of the HSCN, has indicated that it plans a measured approach to connecting organisations that will initially focus on migrating NHS bodies on the N3 network. This will be followed by an effort to attract social care and other new users.

Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0