A Crown Commercial Service-funded digital platform used by the NHS has identified millions of pounds of potential savings in its first year, the government has announced.

Published 27 July 2023

Last updated 9 August 2023

  • Commercial buying system, Atamis, has supported NHS teams to identify millions in potential savings in its first year
  • 69% of all NHS organisations across the UK are benefiting from the digital system, with many more scheduled to onboard
  • Identified savings could help money be reinvested into patient care

Many NHS-affiliated organisations previously used different platforms to buy goods and services. These weren’t possible to integrate, meaning it has historically been difficult for buying teams in the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS to share insights and data between organisations in order to make effective commercial decisions.

The Atamis system, which brings together each element of the commercial process in one location, has removed burdensome manual processes and saved millions of pounds in administration costs. This has also freed up capacity in NHS teams while helping health services run more efficiently.

The platform currently holds a pipeline of £24bn and active contracts with a value of £108bn.

NHS services in North West London were able to identify £34 million of savings by grouping 9 organisations on the same e-commerce system. This has helped them to identify £34 million of potential savings in the past 12 months.

Cabinet Office Parliamentary Secretary Alex Burghart said:

To meet the Prime Minister’s goal of reducing national debt, we’re making efficiencies for the taxpayer.

CCS funding has been invaluable to DHSC, its Arm’s Length Bodies, NHS Providers, newly formed Integrated Care Systems, Integrated Care Boards and Commissioning Support Units.

The roll out of the Atamis e-commerce system, which was enabled by £12.8 million in funding from Crown Commercial Service (spread over 3 financial years), has already seen 258 NHS organisations (69% of total) sign up with a further target of 90% by 2025.

In addition to supporting NHS organisations to identify savings, Atamis provides procurement teams with a unified view of the data, which can be segmented according to the need of the organisation, ensuring it’s easier for procurement and commercial teams to make informed decisions that ensure the best value for money for the taxpayer.

The Department of Health and Social Care said that CCS funding has proved ‘invaluable’ in enabling widespread adoption of the system – one of the 2 key technology platforms that provide the foundations for most of the Central Commercial Functions workstreams – by organisations. The target is to achieve a 90% onboard rate by March 2025.

Health Minister Lord Markham said:

I’m pleased to see the success so far of this digital platform, which is already helping NHS organisations across England identify savings opportunities.

We are committed to using the latest technology and new ways of working to increase efficiencies, save staff time, and deliver value for money.

Sarah Jewell, Deputy Director for partnerships at Crown Commercial Service said:

We’re delighted with the success of the rollout of the Atamis e-commerce system. This is a great step forward in bringing the commercial activities of the health service together in one place to increase the effectiveness and resilience of NHS procurement.

Jacqui Rock, NHS England Chief Commercial Officer said:

The NHS is one of the most efficient health services in the world, and finding further efficiencies to be reinvested into patient care remains a key priority. Atamis is an incredibly important tool to support procurement teams to do this, and it’s encouraging to see the progress we have made in just a year to help deliver significant savings and value for the taxpayer.

As guardians of taxpayer money, having a unified view of the commercial data landscape is essential, so I expect the remaining NHS organisations who haven’t yet onboarded to do so as a matter of priority.

Lee Jackson, Managing Director North West London Procurement Services said:

Atamis has been key to the development of ICS based procurement across North West London. We now have a robust 3rd party intelligence suite of which Atamis is the cornerstone. In the past twelve months we have integrated all data from all nine NHS trusts into the system and also the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. This has helped us identify and track savings opportunities worth £34.8m across our ICS.

Melinda Johnson, Commercial Director for the Department of Health and Social Care said:

CCS funding has been invaluable to DHSC, its Arm’s Length Bodies, NHS Providers, newly formed Integrated Care Systems, Integrated Care Boards and Commissioning Support Units.