National leaders have said that suppliers to NHS commissioners must use electronic invoices from April 2022 onwards. This change is being made in order to lessen the reliance on paper for documents relating to administration, supply chains etc within the NHS. According to the NHS, paper use makes up 3% of NHS supply chain carbon emissions.
From the April 2022 date, suppliers will be obliged to submit invoices to NHS Shared Business Services through an electronic portal called ‘Tradeshift’. NHS Shared Business Services is a joint venture between the Department for Health and Social Care, and an IT firm called Sopra Steria. According to the Health Service Journal, NHS SBS processed “3.3 million supplier invoices in the last 12 months on behalf of clinical commissioning groups – of which around 45 per cent were submitted electronically”.
According to Adrian Snarr, director of financial control at NHS England the 100 million letters the NHS sends a year “has a carbon impact of approximately 14,000 tonnes of carbon and a financial cost of £100m”. Suppliers also stand to benefit from being paid three weeks earlier compared to a traditional paper invoice.