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NHS sets deadline to go online

CONTRACTORS have expressed doubts about plans for all business dealings on NHS Estates' ProCure 21 hospital building programme to be carried out online.

A memo sent out this week for the £1.4 billion-a-year national framework contract said that, within two years of the start of the scheme, the 12 main firms appointed would have to be carrying out all business transactions online.

A year later the full supply chain used by the firms must also make the same commitment.

A ProCure 21 source said: 'It is a big task. We need to have discussions with NHS Estates soon because we don't think that the timescale is realistic.

'They are essentially saying that the whole industry should be online by 2006. That simply isn't going to happen.'

But Galliford Try business development director Chris King said the development was in the interests of the industry.

He said: 'The principal of electronic trading has been about for a while but needs a kickstart to get it going. ProCure 21 will be just that.'