A new National Health Service (NHS) website being rolled out at the beginning of next month will enable Primary Care Trust (PCT) commissioners to advertise the health and social care services which they require and allow suppliers to identify business opportunities within the NHS.

From October 1, all NHS commissioners will be required to advertise information about tendering opportunities and contract awards on the website, named NHS Supply2Health – www.supply2health.nhs.uk.

The service will make it easier for suppliers to identify individual business opportunities and gauge PCTs’ requirements precisely, and assist NHS commissioners in meeting the legal requirements for them to advertise, potentially increasing the number of suppliers responding to their advertisements by reaching a wider audience.

Discussions with all types of providers have revealed that “what was keeping people awake at night was the thought they may have missed an opportunity. That there was a PCT out there in need of exactly what they had to offer, but they simply didn't know about each other,” said Health Minister Ben Bradshaw, announcing the new service.

"With no one place for PCTs to advertise, contract or tendering ads can appear in all number of places and can be easily missed. The new on-line service NHS Supply2Health will ensure well-matched suppliers and contractors can hook up,” he added.

The website, which will cover both health and social services, will also offer subscribers services such as e-mailing them where new opportunities are posted that match the health and social care services they provide.

NHS Supply2Health has been piloted in PCTs in the South Central Strategic Health Authority (SHA) region since June 2008, and five training events in its use are taking place this month for PCTs. Trusts have also been asked to provide two nominated leads on the website, one of whom must be a board-level member of staff.

NHS Supply2Health will sit alongside existing regulations and make it easier to comply with the European Union (EU) Procurement Directive, Mr Bradshaw added.