• New NHS price comparison tool being created
  • Contract with existing provider expires in summer
  • NHS Improvement says “all options” are being considered

A new price comparison tool is being designed by NHS technology officials which could be rolled out to trusts later this year, HSJ has learned.

Sources have told HSJ that NHS Digital is working on a tool which will aim to help trusts’ procurement departments to improve their spending by enabling price comparisons with other trusts.

The tool could replace the Purchasing Price Index Benchmarking software currently used by trusts to compare spending on clinical and non-clinical products.

The PPIB software is provided by private company AdviseInc, and has helped the NHS save millions of pounds since its introduction nearly three years ago.

HSJ understands NHS Improvement is eager for the NHS to develop its own in-house data tool, so the regulator has asked NHS Digital to design a solution.

AdviseInc’s contract with NHS Improvement to provide PPIB expires this summer.

An NHSI spokesman confirmed the regulator is considering “all options to continue providing the tool”, which includes both “bringing it in-house” and extending the contract.

However, he would not respond to questions about NHS Digital’s involvement.

An NHS Digital spokesman said he could not comment.

NHSI has described PPIB as “nationally important” in helping the NHS save money, with its data used by efficiency schemes such as Getting It Right First Time, Nationally Contracted Products, and the Department of Health and Social Care’s procurement transformation programme.

Last year, the regulator scrapped plans to run a procurement for a new analytics partner, following initial suggestions by NHSI’s efficiency chief Jeremy Marlow for a “next generation” of PPIB.

All NHS trusts pay £3,500 annually for PPIB. 

AdviseInc declined to comment.