SMEs urged to form new health care marketplace worth £500m

The Government is encouraging SMEs to supply to the public sector via a new £500 marketplace for health and social care providers.

NHS Digital and Crown Commercial Service has created a new Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) to provide consumers access to companies that supply Health and Social Care Network (HSCN) services. The DPS is now live, and will continue to grow as suppliers join throughout the term.

HSCN enables health professionals from NHS Trusts, hospitals, GPs, social care organisations and non-public sector bodies to communicate and share information, delivering efficient, effective public services that meet the needs of citizens.

A new network

For the last 13 years, a network previously known as N3 (New National Network) connected the NHS. N3 will be succeeded by HSCN – a network for all health and social care organisations, allowing any supplier that can become HSCN-compliant to provide services.

HSCN could be worth up to £500 million over the next six and a half years.

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 on board, suppliers will be able to bid to deliver the service to thousands of public sector organisations across the UK.

Opportunity for small businesses

The move away from a framework model to the DPS was with suppliers and particularly SMEs in mind, reducing certain barriers to entry and enabling compliant suppliers to join over time.

Supplier feedback was positive on this move. Ian Fishwick, Chief Executive of Adept Telecom, said:
“One of the problems SMEs have with conventional frameworks is that if you miss the start then you are effectively cut out of the market for several years. With the HSCN Dynamic Purchasing System we have shown that businesses who comply over time can join in when they are ready.”

To find out more about HSCN, visit the NHS Digital HSCN webpage

To find out how to sign up to provide services through HSCN, visit the DPS webpages