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NHS: Billing

Volume 468: debated on Monday 26 November 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether suppliers using NHS Shared Business Services are required to use the OB10 invoicing system; how many suppliers the NHS Shared Business Services deals with; and what the impact on costs to (a) his Department and (b) Xansa are from OB10 being used. (164589)

NHS Shared Business Services (SBS) Ltd is running a trial programme to establish the take up rate for electronic invoicing and OB10 is their preferred supplier. Neither client trusts nor suppliers are required to use the OB10 e-invoicing system and enrolment is entirely at the discretion of suppliers.

At present, NHS SBS has over 90,000 suppliers registered on its system.

No record of cost is being kept. NHS SBS is a 50/50 joint venture with Xansa Ltd. The Department's share of any profits made by NHS SBS will be passed on to its national health service customer base. If costs of NHS SBS reduce as a consequence of using OB10, the NHS's share of these will be fed back to its customers by way of additional profit distribution.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much the NHS Shared Business Service costs (a) his Department and (b) Xansa to run. (164590)

In the last accounting year, NHS Shared Business Services made an operating loss after tax and interest of £13.268 million. This loss is borne equally by the two stakeholders.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health which NHS (a) trusts and (b) other organisations are implementing the OB10 invoicing system; what guidance his Department has given on the OB10 system; what assessment he has made of the effect on the price the NHS organisations pay for services and goods of the OB10 system; what estimate he has made of the net financial effect on the NHS of the OB10 invoicing system; and whether (i) the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency, (ii) NHS Supply Chain and (iii) Collaborative Procurement Hubs (A) are using and (B) plan to use the OB10 system. (164591)

It is up to individual national health service trusts and organisations to decide on whether e-invoicing is appropriate for their organisation and, if appropriate, the preferred supplier. Records are not held centrally on the number of NHS customers of OB10 or any other e-invoicing system.

No guidance on the use of OB10, or any other e-invoicing system, has been issued by the Department.

Use of e-invoicing systems such as OB10 has a number of benefits that should produce savings for all users. Costs are saved in the NHS trust because invoices do not have to be opened, scanned and distributed, and matching them to the order is simplified. There is greater accuracy and certainty for both supplier and the trust and suppliers benefit from speedier payment, in line with the Government's prompt payment policy.

No estimate has been made of the net financial impact on the NHS of the use of OB10.

The NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency do promote the use of OB10 among its suppliers, but do not mandate its use. NHS Supply Chain do not use OB10 and they already have their own integrated e-ordering and e-invoicing system.

No records are kept centrally regarding the e-invoicing policy of each NHS Collaborative Procurement Hub.