Peppol basics for NHS suppliers

October 9, 2020

Written by: Anna Micklewright

Need to start sending e-documents to the NHS via Peppol and want to know more what Peppol is all about? Here we lay out Peppol basics for NHS suppliers and give you the answers you need. 

Peppol in the UK

The NHS eProcurement Strategy, published in 2014, requires the UK healthcare sector to use Peppol to transfer orders, order responses and invoices electronically to their suppliers. The strategy named six Pathfinder trusts and gave each £2 million to implement Peppol and GS1 across their organisations.

Though the infrastructure was built on this concept, it has taken time for hospitals to solidify connection of all suppliers. However, this is changing, and more hospitals and suppliers are now connecting.

NEP, a consortium of 32 NHS organisations has been pioneering the way for Peppol for NHS organisations. Key contributors within NEP, particularly Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and York Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, have conducted numerous testing scenarios with suppliers via NEP. This has allowed the network for the consortium to extend rapidly.

Other consortia, ELFS and SBS, have started to open themselves up for Peppol traffic as well. NHS Supply Chain has also adopted Peppol, adding in a requirement for advanced shipping notice. 

Peppol basics for NHS suppliers

As suppliers to the UK healthcare sector, you must choose an accredited Peppol Service Provider to transfer data for you. It is important to take time choosing your partner carefully since they will communicate with your customers on your behalf. 

Once connected, you will have the ability to send and receive electronic purchase orders, invoices, and other purchase–related documents through the Peppol network. You will be able to reach all your business partners via Peppol, regardless of which Service Providers they use. 

This four–corner model allows NHS buyers to trade with any supplier connected to Peppol. Similarly, suppliers can trade with all NHS buyers and other public and private sector organisations on the Peppol network. 


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How Peppol will impact the way the NHS does business

Though electronic trading has been available in the NHS for many years, it has been limited to larger healthcare suppliers due to high implementation and adoption costs. The Peppol infrastructure, however, is not cost–prohibitive and allows all organisations to trade electronically with the NHS. This enables all suppliers to offer value–added services to customers that were previously limited to larger healthcare organisations.

Peppol background

Peppol is a project for the development of technical standards to remove obstacles for cross-border e-procurement. Public government authorities and private businesses alike can use the Peppol network to electronically exchange purchase orders, invoices and more without any manual intervention. OpenPeppol, an organisation that sprung out of the Peppol project in 2012, governs the maintenance of infrastructure specifications for exchanging business documents on the Peppol network. OpenPeppol has three main goals:

  • Encourage end users (government buyers and their suppliers) to implement e-procurement
  • Encourage service providers to build and offer services based on OpenPeppol standards
  • Ensure that the Peppol network grows

The Peppol infrastructure is powered by certified e-commerce Service Providers (SPs). SPs support Peppol standards and fulfil requirements set out by local Peppol authorities. This means that suppliers no longer need to wrestle with numerous processes and portals chosen by each hospital. Furthermore, hospitals can connect to everyone within their supply chains via the Peppol network rather than various infrastructures or platforms.

Find more detailed information about Peppol, how to connect, which countries currently use Peppol and more insight to OpenPeppol.

How Pagero can help

Pagero has been closely involved with the creation of the UK healthcare strategy from its inception. We fully understand the requirements for the UK market and work with an extensive list of healthcare suppliers, manufacturers, and hospitals worldwide. We guide you through the complete process and ensure you remain compliant with all UK healthcare mandates.


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