NHS Digital (NHSD), the digital, data and technology partner of the NHS, has recently merged into NHS England (NHSE). However, the NHSD Commercial team continues to deliver its broad and important role in procuring and commissioning digital health technology critical to delivering patient care across the country. NHSD asked EY to become its strategic partner in delivering a comprehensive commercial transformation programme to:
- Enhance its commercial operating model
- Embark on the journey to becoming a best-in-class commercial organisation.
EY support to NHSD has been delivered during periods of significant upheaval. Our work first began during lockdown in November 2020, when NHSD had to manage critical programmes related to the COVID-19 pandemic, whilst experiencing constant organisational change, political uncertainty and public scrutiny of its commercial decisions – all of which distracted it from aspirations of transformational change.
Despite these challenges, our approach has helped NHSD to apply commercial best practices to the design and establishment of the new commercial target operating model. We conducted strategy sessions, bringing EY leaders from across the business to act as ‘critical friends’ and provide specialist support in crafting a target state vision and implementation plan. We also deployed innovative approaches – using an illustrator, for example, to encourage creativity, capture key points and translate these aspirations into visuals that are easy to understand and share. This approach enabled broader thinking and brainstorming of trends that NHSD needed to prepare for to become a truly cutting-edge function.
Given the merger, the programme also needed to meet the needs of the future organisation. We had a unique opportunity to extend the commercial work across the broader health ecosystem and engaged with a wide range of stakeholders to ensure buy-in and alignment. We helped NHSD to navigate and shape its commercial strategy and approach, by linking up key programmes and parts of the organisation to pivot from a reactive to a proactive stance.
As a result of our work, NHSD’s Commercial team has been able to implement leading practice to its existing delivery and generate significant long-term value for the NHS, including:
- Delivering an average saving of 15% across £600 million of committed spend to date
- Empowering staff – 99% of staff reported an improved self-awareness and outcomes focus
- Reducing procurement timelines by eight weeks, enabling new technology to get to frontline care faster
By partnering with NHSD to enable the sustained development of the Commercial team, which represents continued value for money for the taxpayer and improved patient care, we have also been able to fulfil EY’s own purpose of Building a better working world.
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