Selling your products & services to the NHS

Selling to the NHS presents your company with an opportunity to sell into one of the fastest growing sectors of the UK economy.

The NHS is a market happy to leave issues of revenue and profit to one side – more concerned with delivery over price, improving patient wellbeing and placing a high value on innovation.

This creates excellent opportunities for businesses looking to build long-term, profitable partnerships with NHS bodies.

The best way to sell an innovative product or service into the NHS is by demonstrating how it overcomes challenges.

These could be in areas such as IT strategy, health tech, integrated care systems or digital health care, or simply new ways of doing traditional tasks within the healthcare market.

Why take advantage of the opportunity to sell to the NHS?

The UK National Health Service is the world’s fifth largest employer with over 1.5 million members of staff.

Around 10% of the country’s earnings are spent on it every year through taxation.

In an average 24hr period, the NHS deals with over 650,000 patients, and the organisation spends over £27bn a year on goods and services.

Underlying the procurement process of the NHS are the following four purchasing rules:

  1. delivery of world-class patient care,
  2. delivery of value to the taxpayer,
  3. support for health-based innovation (technology- and non-technology based), and
  4. economic growth.

The organisation of the NHS

There are four separate NHS services in the UK – NHS Scotland, NHS Wales, HSC Northern Ireland and NHS England.

In England, the current NHS structure is:

  • 10 ambulance trusts (including 5 foundation trusts)
  • 135 acute trusts
  • 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) and 6 Academic Health Science Centres supporting research, innovation and adoption
  • 200+ CCGs (Clinical Commissioning Group)
  • 35 community providers
  • 54 mental health trusts (including 42 foundation trusts)
  • 7,454 GP practices
  • 853 for-profit and not-for-profit independent sector organisations, providing care to NHS patients from 7,331 locations

In Scotland, the current NHS structure is:

  • 1,000+ GP practices
  • 14 Territorial Health Boards supported by 7 ‘Special’ Health Boards
  • 300+ hospitals
  • 32 Health and Social Care Partnerships (NHS and local authority)

In Wales, the current NHS structure is:

  • 100+ hospitals
  • 3 Trusts providing pan-Wales services
  • 440 GP practices
  • 7 local health boards

In Northern Ireland, the current NHS structure is:

  • 1 national ambulance service
  • 340 GP practices+
  • 40 hospitals
  • 5 health and social care (HSC) Trusts
  • 5 local commissioning groups

Five ways to sell to NHS England

There are five ways of selling to the NHS:

  1. direct sales to a decision maker within an NHS trust or primary care organisation,
  2. NHS Supply Chain,
  3. collaborative purchasing agreements,
  4. national framework collaborations and contracts, and
  5. UK government tenders and contracts.

Selling direct to an NHS trust or primary care organisation

An NHS authority or trust (also referred to as a healthcare provider) can make their own purchasing decisions.

If you take this approach, you need to identify the right contacts within the NHS practice.

This generally means the finance team, the procurement team, or the clinicians.

Selling via the NHS Supply Chain

40% of all NHS spending on capital equipment, high value healthcare consumables, common goods, and everyday hospital consumables is done via the Supply Chain (NHSSC).

The goal is to raise that to 80% in the coming years.

By partnering with these providers, one of the main benefits is that all NHS buyers will have access to your products and services via online catalogues.

Selling via collaborative purchasing agreements

More local NHS organisations are partnering to create regional purchasing arrangements.

Four new procurement hubs have evolved from this process and they operate three of the new NHSSC towers –

  • rehabilitation, disabled services, women’s health and associated consumables
  • orthopaedics, trauma and spine, and ophthalmology, and
  • sterile intervention equipment and associated consumables.

Selling via NHS national framework collaborations and contracts

On occasion, groups of private providers submit collaborative purchasing contracts to NHS organisations and trusts and work carried out under the contract is carried out at a given price.

For SMEs, national framework collaborations can provide greater visibility to NHS buyers as well as aiding in gaining an understanding of how NHS procurement works in general.

Selling via NHS government tenders and contracts

For orders of suppliers and services worth more than £118,133, NHS organisations issues tenders.

How do you find the right people to approach?

Drawing for our extensive UK public sector database, we can put you in touch with the following leaders and decision makers within the following types of healthcare organisations across the country.

Our NHS supply chain marketing database contains the following contact information:

NHS supply chain marketing database from More Than Words

Our list of NHS consultants contains:

  • 51,990 named consultants
  • 2,573 sites,
  • 237 NHS organisations,
  • 51,990 postal addresses,
  • 22,874 direct email addresses,
  • 16,116 NHS consultant phone numbers, and
  • 51,990 switchboard numbers.

On our doctors’ database we have:

  • 8,829 general practice records,
  • 36,280 GP contact names,
  • 6,256 telephone numbers,
  • 8,676 direct GP email addresses, and
  • 2,229 organisational email addresses.

On our list of care homes, we have the following information:

  • 21,437 nursing homes, residential care homes, and rest & retirement homes,
  • 9,480 care home emails, and
  • 21,003 contact names.

When you call, let us know more about your company, what you want to sell to the NHS, and the benefits your products and services deliver.

Direct marketing to NHS buyers and leaders

Managed direct marketing services from more than words

Email marketing

One cost-effective way for SMEs to put their business case to NHS buyers is by email marketing.

For any prospective new suppliers introducing their product or service to the Health Service, email marketing campaigns allow you to do so at the lowest cost with the highest average returns.

Don’t have the email broadcast technology or know-how within your company to send campaigns to prospective customers?

Ask us about our managed email marketing campaigns to the public sector .


The most popular route for the SMEs and other companies which use us to build a presence as a supplier within the NHS is telemarketing.

On each call, we can identify whether an NHS organisation is experiencing a problem which your product or service could solve, whether your technology or system would make service delivery smoother, and so on.

By asking a decision maker the right set of questions, we’ll uncover an opportunity for your business to become a new supplier.

If you don’t have your own telesales team, please ask us about our outsourced telemarketing campaigns to the public sector.

Direct mail marketing

Use direct mail marketing to find new customers in the NHS for your product or service.

According to the UK Data and Marketing Association, postal marketing achieves a response rate of 4.4%.

In the same survey, the DMA found that companies selling using catalogues achieved a response rate of 4.26%.

Want to buy the NHS data only?

On all campaigns, whether you carry out the marketing campaigns or we do it on your behalf, you can use the data for 12 months after purchase.

In addition to support from your account manager, you’ll also receive support from our technical and advertising sales teams.

Selling to the NHS – working with More Than Words

Get in touch with More Than Words Marketing

More Than Words, in association with its media partner, maintains an extensive database of NHS contacts at seven different levels of seniority/management function.

Not only can we help you find the right buyers to speak to but we can help you make the business case for your products and services.

To speak with one of our business development about selling direct to NHS trusts or primary care organisations, please contact us on 0330 010 8300 or you can click here to email our direct marketing team.

Selling to the NHS with More Than Words

To find out more, please call us on 0330 010 8300, click here to email us, or fill in the form and we’ll get back to you.