By Christine Hall, Associate Programme Director, NEP.
NEP is the NHS and the NHS is our passion.
Being the largest Consortium in the English NHS has always been one of NEP’s valuable assets. We work collaboratively with all our members across a varying large group of NHS Organisations ensuring we all benefit from the technologies and drive efficiencies enabling those savings made by Organisations to be released back into frontline care, which is our priority. But this year, unlike any other, it has been put to the test.
Our move to the latest technology has enabled our clients with the benefits of a ‘True Cloud offering’ a “digital first solution” across its client base. To us, this has meant more than just expanding the remit of current technology solutions, it meant supporting our frontline staff and our back-office services with the best available technology to do their job efficiently and effectively. Not just for today, but ensuring they would have the best for years to come.
Once in the Cloud, it became clear, that we would always be ahead of the curve. Using Oracle ERP as our finance and procurement solution has really helped us to embrace this thinking and gives us the facility for best practice and efficiencies.
The NHS is a big family, but you can appreciate inherent processes can be very different from one organisation to another. Utilising our unique NEP templated solution with Oracle ERP we can support the effort to streamline those processes, improve efficiencies; for example, Management Budgets, by using simple, visual dashboards enabling individuals throughout an organisation to be responsible and accountable for their own budgets at a glance, providing front line staff more time for their patients. Along with the improved Purchase to Pay processes it makes it infinitely more efficient for everyone.
By working collaboratively with our members, we can advocate best practice, share economies of scale and use our systems how they are designed to be used. The Oracle Cloud technology has been an enabler, but the end goal is bringing more value to the NHS. A nurse being able to check a budget with a traffic light system instead of scrolling through pages and pages on a spreadsheet. A doctor instantly confirming the vital supplies they need have been purchased. Administrative staff tracking all of this with efficient, streamlined reporting.
The solution really came into its own in March during the pandemic, enabling staff to work remotely. Our organisations working with Oracle ERP were able to successfully close their year-end and carry out their annual audit on time. Not only that, but the essential procurement of critical goods and services were also uninterrupted in the middle of a pandemic, with no impact on levels of care.
Another example of how flexible the NEP Templated solution has proven successful is that when NEP on-board new clients we work directly with and on-site during the implementation. It traditionally took between four to six months to implement and a further three months to have the system fully embedded in their processes. This year, with Oracle ERP, our NEP Team have successfully on-boarded three new Organisations remotely, with all training, workshops, migration and project meetings carried out virtually across the country. The system is intuitive and simple to use, so the adoption has happened more naturally, enabling our new clients to be in a state of ‘Business as Usual’ much sooner than anticipated, these two elements of our unique NEP template and Cloud make it so much easier for NHS Organisations to join NEP.
Moving to a new finance and procurement solution and all its processes is an enormous undertaking for any Organisation to take, but with NEP Cloud we have proven and demonstrated that the transition and with the dedication of the organisation themselves working alongside NEP it can be achieved. However, it is the small differences the solution makes within the organisations that really matter – making the jobs of nurses, doctors, and admin staff easier and simpler, so they can deliver the best patient care.
This year particularly, every penny has counted more. Every minute seems to pass a little quicker. And when the nation needed heroes, the NHS were there and continue to be. To make this happen, everyone had to be working towards the same goal – including the technology. Oracle has facilitated and helped us to achieve: every little thing that happens behind the scenes contributes towards the benefit of staff and patients on the frontline.
Find out more about Oracle’s work in the UK public sector here.