Working with the NHS: PEPPOL and its implications

By 26th February 2018park news
PEPPOL and its implications

Being close to Derriford Hospital here at the Science Park, there’s a fair chance that many of you will have some dealings with Derriford Hospital. If you do, you may be interested in the ongoing ‘SCAN4SAFETY’ initiative being run by the Department of Health and, as part of any document exchange that takes place with the hospital, with PEPPOL. On a wider scale, if you deal with any part of the NHS, or even with suppliers to the NHS, PEPPOL may affect you at some stage.

First of all, by way of introduction:

  • SCAN4SAFETY is a project designed to digitise most aspects of NHS activities by introducing bar coding and scanning techniques to all such activities. Its purpose is to improve patient outcomes and save resource (especially money!!). Based on trials so far, reports so far suggest that the initiative has already, literally, saved lives and money and so, in the words of a senior officer in the DoH, is a ‘No Brainer’.
  • SCAN4SAFETY is currently being rolled out, starting with 6 NHS Trusts which are assigned as ‘Demonstrator Sites’. Derriford is one of these.
  • PEPPOL (standing for Pan European Public Procurement OnLine) is a fundamental part of SCAN4SAFETY. It is an established means of exchanging data between NHS bodies (Trusts, CCGs, etc) and their Trading Partners – mainly suppliers but, effectively, anyone who trades in goods or services with the NHS. Typically, these documents will include Purchase Orders and Invoices but may extend to Delivery Notes, Product Catalogues, Prices, etc – in fact, any documentation that is exchanged with the NHS. This replaces paper, faxes, emails and other forms of electronic data interchange.
  • PEPPOL is also being considered by other public bodies in the UK and so there’s every chance that it will become the ‘Go To’ standard for all trade with the public sector. • PEPPOL Access Point Providers (APPs) are those companies that are registered as being able to move information into and out of the PEPPOL Network on behalf of their clients. Only registered APPs are allowed to do this.
  • We at EDI Plus are specialists in providing all forms of EDI. Having become a PEPPOL APP a while ago, we are able to advise organisations on all things PEPPOL and, of course, provide the PEPPOL Access service on their behalf. This means that we can ensure there is no disruption to normal day-to-day activities in organisations’ dealings with NHS bodies and their associates.
  • Once an NHS body has adopted PEPPOL all trading partners of that body will have to trade through the PEPPOL Network in order to continue that relationship. PEPPOL adoption is an ongoing process aimed at covering the whole of NHS England by 2020.


If all of the above sounds a bit scary, please don’t be put off – the advantages of PEPPOL are well documented and almost guaranteed to save money, not only for the NHS themselves, but also for all those companies that have any level of business dealings with the NHS. The process is specifically designed to ensure value for money, and enhances or replaces manual processes to reduce overheads and dramatically improve accuracy. As an example, Invoices to the NHS will be presented far more readily and with far less scope for dispute and so payment is far less likely to be delayed – who’s not going to sign up to that?? If you trade with the NHS, you may have already been notified about the need for PEPPOL adoption, but don’t worry if you haven’t because adoption is a gradual process based on the type of goods or services that are provided.

So, in brief, if you want to know more about PEPPOL, please give EDI Plus a call, or drop us a line…or pop into our office for a chat. And feel free to pass this on to other parties who may be interested.

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