NHS SBS transforms back office functions of 48 organisations

A £10m investment by NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS) has driven 48 organisations to sign contracts for a range of finance, procurement and employment services targeting transforming back office functions across the health service.

Since the start of the year, a number of leading providers have made the shift to shared services, whilst more than 40 NHS organisations have renewed or extended their relationship with NHS SBS.

In total, NHS SBS provides one business service to over 100 providers and arm’s-length bodies across the country.

The organisation is supporting trusts with meeting financial spending targets and efficiency savings through investment in new technologies such as robotics and automation.

It also follows research by NHS Improvement that found the health service could save around £400m a year by creating efficiencies in the back office of trusts.

“Modernising the back office to ensure the NHS gets best value from the way it spends its finances must be a priority to alleviate rising costs resulting from increased frontline pressures,” said David Morris, managing director at NHS SBS.

“Exploiting national economies of scale is more important than ever, but shared services must be about more than off-the-shelf outsourcing.”

In particular, Morris noted that the Our Future Services Programme has been focused on actively listening to partner NHS organisations, finding new ways to work to make their lives easier whilst designing future services around their needs.

“The investment we are making into emerging technologies is on behalf of the entire health service, directly supporting transformation and helping to shape how the NHS can get more from its spending,” he explained.

“The recent growth in the number of new customers is a clear indication that NHS trusts can see the value we are offering, and that our collaborative way of working will help them respond to both local and national priorities, supporting a sustainable healthcare system for future generations.”

One trust that has benefited from NHS SBS’s work is Papworth Hospital NHS FT, which turned to the organisation to help prepare it for its relocation to a new purpose-built hospital and replace an almost entirely paper-based back office with an innovative, systems-led way of working.

This has allowed trust leads to be in better control of their expenditure, and has given the provider faster and more accurate financial processes as well as greater transparency.

Roy Clarke, director of finance at the trust, commented: “To achieve the back-office efficiency savings set out by Lord Carter and ensure robust systems at a time of significant change for the trust – as we move to a brand new hospital – modernising our business functions through NHS SBS, particularly with its experience of working with so many other parts of the NHS, was seen as a key element to underpin our wider trust strategy.

“Our business services play an important role in supporting our clinicians to deliver world-class patient care, by providing them with the best possible platform that ensures they have the right tools and information at the right time. With NHS SBS we’ve seen a leap in the maturity of our systems in a very short space of time.”

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