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:
- direct sales to a decision maker within an NHS trust or primary care organisation,
- NHS Supply Chain,
- collaborative purchasing agreements,
- national framework collaborations and contracts, and
- 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: