Around half of NHS trusts are yet to pay for a procurement analytics tool despite being told to do so in August.

According to an NHS Improvement update sent to providers last week, 121 trusts have raised purchase orders for the Price Purchasing Index Benchmarking tool.

NHSI initially set trusts a deadline of 30 September to pay for the tool. But in the update the regulator has asked remaining trusts to send purchase orders by the end of this month.

PPIB helps trusts identify where they spend more on products and suppliers compared to their peers.

The tool, launched in autumn 2016, has been praised as an effective way to improve transparency in NHS procurement and it has helped individual trusts deliver savings of up to £600,000.

Sources previously told HSJ PPIB has been seen is regarded as a “huge success” by NHSI.

When it was set up, trusts were told the tool would be centrally funded. However, in August NHSI said trusts must contribute towards the cost.

The NHSI update said: “Knowing what other trusts are paying for the same products gives you greater purchasing power as you can collaborate, negotiate and save money.”

Health analytics company AdviseInc provides PPIB after a winning a contract worth £482,000 a year.

The exact amount trusts pay for PPIB varies depending on how big their turnover is, with three levels of pay put in place. Trusts with:

  • turnover of less than £300m pay £2,500;
  • turnover between £300m and £800m pay £2,750; and
  • turnover of £800m or more pay £3,250.

An NHSI spokeswoman said: ”A large number of trusts have already signed up to continue reaping the benefits of the NHS price comparison tool. We are continuing to help all trusts get signed up by the end of November.

“The NHS price comparison tool has been instrumental in helping providers pay less for more than 2 million everyday hospital consumables. If a trust does not sign up they will be missing out on negotiating the best deals and delivering savings which can be reinvested into patient services, and they will need to justify this to their boards and we will factor it into our oversight of them.”