Stotles market report

NHS 2024 Guidebook

Your complete guide to winning NHS contracts in a year full of financial challenges and governance reforms.


As we step into 2024, NHS buyers continue to wrestle with the financial challenges that have shaped the healthcare landscape over recent years. With the upcoming introduction of the new Procurement Act and a potential general election, an added layer of structural complexity is emerging for suppliers. 

This guidebook will be key to navigating these challenges and positioning your company for success with the NHS. Read ahead to discover how to:

  • Navigate the NHS with confidence:  Gain insight into NHS England’s strategy and understand the impact of the upcoming election and Procurement Act. 
  • Identify opportunities in a challenging landscape: Leverage data to focus on funded business cases and enhance your chances of winning contracts.
  • Build lasting relationships with NHS buyers: Gain insights from NHS experts on how to pre-engage with buyers and gain a competitive advantage. 
  • Master winning routes to market: Explore further resources from Stotles leaders that will help you build winning strategies.

Informed by Stotles' procurement data and testimonials from leading NHS experts, this guide provides a comprehensive blend of data-backed strategies and real-world experiences for suppliers.

Section one

Navigate the NHS with confidence

As a supplier, staying ahead in the NHS market requires adapting to its evolving landscape.

In this section, we outline NHS England's 2024/25 strategy, highlighting its impact on NHS organisations' priorities & finances. We also outline the potential affects of the upcoming general election and detail how the Procurement Act 2023 will reshape the way you interact with buyers.

NHS England promises more of the same in 2024/2025...

NHS England's Operational Planning Guidance, which typically provides the definitive roadmap for NHS organisations planning for the upcoming fiscal year, has postponed its 2024/2025 release indefinitely into the new year.

However, NHS England have confirmed that the priorities set out within the 2023/24 plan will be extended into the upcoming period. This means NHS organisations will be expected to continue focusing on: maintaining core UEC capacity, enhancing diagnostic and elective activities, reducing patient wait times, and improving patient access, including the new pharmacy first service.

With NHS England’s update also emphasising the need for organisations to achieve  “financial balance”, suppliers should prepare for a continuation of last year’s trends when working with. This means aligning your offerings with the key strategic goals (outlined to the right) and delivering cost-effective, integrated solutions.

Improve A&E wait times so no less than 76% of patients are seen within 4 hours by March 24.
The percentage of patients that receive a diagnostic test within six weeks in line with the March 2025 ambition of 95%.
Increase elective care productivity and meet the 85% day case and 85% theatre utilisation goals.

But how will the General Election affect the landscape?

While the overall strategy and funding direction offers consistency from 2023/2024, the upcoming general election is an external factor that could significantly influence the future healthcare landscape.

The expected date of the general election remains unconfirmed, but health-tech expert Liam Cahill’s latest blog "What does the NHS have in store for healthtech in 2024?" offers tangible guidance for suppliers.

"In the early months, we might observe sudden funding initiatives aimed at grabbing public attention. However, as we approach 'purdah', a period of relative quiet is likely, with a temporary halt on new ventures."

Post election, Liam suggests suppliers should anticipate that NHS organisations will continue adhering to their existing strategy and procurement plans, regardless of the general election's outcome.

Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) are in the process of finalising their Joint Forward Plans and Capital Resource Plans for 2024/2025, set for publication in April. These documents will guide the year's focus.

Should a new government come into power, significant strategic & funding changes are more likely to be introduced for the 2025/2026 plans.

Prepare for impact: The Procurement Act reshapes NHS regulations

If the timelines for the General Election represents an unknown external factor for suppliers, one thing you can prepare for with certainty is the upcoming Procurement Act. Formalised in 2023, the new Procurement Act is expected to go live in October 2024 and will introduce pivotal changes in the way NHS organisations procure contracts.

This section highlights key changes and their implications for NHS suppliers across different sectors, equipping you with essential knowledge to navigate this upcoming regulatory shift.

For technology, business, medical equipment and social care suppliers:

With the Procurement Act 2023 in effect, suppliers of “non-healthcare services” will see a shift in NHS procurement processes starting October 2024. 

The Act consolidates over 350 regulations into a simpler system and introduces 'Light-Touch' procedures, encouraging a more accessible and efficient approach to procurement.

“Light-Touch” Procurement Procedures: The procurement process is now categorised into two types: a single-stage tendering procedure and a flexible competitive tendering procedure, making opportunities more accessible for suppliers.

For suppliers holding existing NHS contracts, you should also expect to be held to a higher account of performance under the new regime, with NHS organisations permitted greater ability to exclude suppliers for underperformance.

For Healthcare suppliers:

For “Healthcare service” suppliers, the (existing) Public Contracts Regulations (2015) and (upcoming) Procurement Act 2023 will no longer apply. This applies to Hospitals, Community, Mental Health and Primary Care providers.

As of January 2024, procurement of these services is instead governed under the Provider Selection Regime, which provides more flexibility for direct contract awards, away from the competitive tender process. 

For suppliers in this category, we recommend reading the following Local Government Lawyer article for more information on upcoming changes.

Key guidance for NHS suppliers:

In the current NHS landscape, where buyers are focused on recovering services and meeting financial targets amidst complex regulatory changes, it is vital to develop a proactive and empathetic sales strategy. This involves identifying NHS buyers with the necessary funding and intent for your solutions, and engaging with them to understand their specific needs, constraints and procurement processes.

Understanding these nuances will help you tailor your offerings to the evolving NHS market, developing effective routes to market and securing a competitive advantage before the new procurement rules are implemented.

Section Two

Identifying opportunities in a challenging landscape

In this section of the report we highlight two essential ways you can use data to cut through the noise to easily identify and target funded, relevant NHS opportunities for your business.

1. Target the right buyer with funding data

In an environment where NHS organisations are struggling for funding, it is essential for suppliers to understand that each procurement decision is a delicate trade-off for buyers.

The procurement of one software system might necessitate cutting back on essential staff or medical devices. Therefore, it's crucial to focus on buyers with funding specifically earmarked for the services you are providing - which can differ dramatically from region to region. 

In Stotles recent NHS Supplier Masterclass webinar, Uko Umotong emphasised the importance of understanding the unique strategic goals and funding for different NHS Integrated Care Boards (ICBs).

“The NHS spends about £150b a year. Of that, 70% is given directly to ICBs to commission health in their local areas. The allocation of this budget varies across different ICBs and organisations.”

With 42 ICBs in England, each overseeing multiple NHS Trusts – totalling 215 – the landscape is complex. Each ICB functions independently, making it crucial for suppliers to pinpoint where funding is allocated and identify the key procurement decision-makers within these entities.

“Within one ICB, you might have your organisation procured by health, but in another by social care. In one organisation you might be procured by an ICB, or a Trust itself. In every case, it’s an opportunity.” 

Within this diverse and decentralised landscape, using data to identify where funding has been allocated is necessary to uncover target accounts for your business. To assist suppliers in this endeavour, we consolidated all 2023/2024 Integrated Care Board funding allocations and business cases into one comprehensive NHS Budget Directory, previewed in the table below.

Integrated Care SystemTotal 2023/2024 Capital Budget
Cheshire and Merseyside


North East and North Cumbria£393m
West Yorkshire£378m
Hampshire and Isle of Wight£355m
North West London£343m
North Central London£329m
South East London£315m
South West London£288m
North East London£253m
Nottingham and Nottinghamshire£223m
Black Country£201m
Kent and Medway£191m
Hertfordshire and West Essex£187m

By downloading the full NHS Budget Directory, you can identify total funding, budget allocations, and confirmed business cases for  any Integrated Care Board or Trust in England. Read it in full for free here.

Key actions for suppliers:

As we approach the new NHS financial year in April, suppliers should be actively engaging with target accounts to identify any unspent budgets or incomplete business cases before the year's end. These opportunities are likely to be limited, so it's crucial to simultaneously pre-engage over anticipated business cases and funding for 2024/2025. 

Stay tuned to Stotles for the latest updates on 2024/2025 NHS budgets and plans as they are released, ensuring you're always a step ahead in the procurement process.

2. Identify upcoming contracts with procurement data

Understanding organisation-level funding and strategy goals is a necessary step towards surfacing potential opportunities, but the best in class suppliers are leveraging contract award data to identify potential renewals and downstream opportunities to target. 

To help you effectively plan for the year ahead, we’ve analysed contract award dates to identify when the biggest opportunities will emerge for NHS suppliers. The aim of this analysis is to equip you with the tools needed to refine your focus on the most relevant contracts.

Plan for peak months

Our research into contract award patterns across 2023 has revealed that the most active months for NHS contracts to be awarded to suppliers are between March and June, with a notable surge in March.

This pattern is closely tied to the NHS's financial year start date in April.  The finalisation of the previous financial year's deals predominantly happens in March, while the refresh of budgets in April creates a period of heightened new contract activity for the following three months.

This insight is vital for planning your engagement strategy, particularly during the quieter months of January and February, where you should be busy planning for this March-June peak period. 

Target expiring contract set for renewal

To effectively identify opportunities for this busy period, focusing on expiring contracts can provide early signals for contract renewal or downstream opportunities

Analysis of the 2024 contract expiries reveals that a significant number of NHS contracts are set to expire in March.

This period leading up to March serves as an ideal window for suppliers to engage with buyers and identify which contracts are likely to renew or generate downstream opportunities between March and June.

Next steps for suppliers

By leveraging Stotles' procurement data and AI driven signal settings, you can dive deeper into these awarded and expiring NHS contracts to easily identify which represent potential opportunities for your business. Once you've pinpointed the right contracts, you can use our contract data to qualify previous supplier involvement, identify key decision-makers and engage over potential downstream opportunities.

 'Stotles helps you bypass the complexity and identify the right person to contact.' Uko Umotong, Co-Founder of UB Healthcare

To take the next step in simplifying your NHS sales, sign up for a free Stotles account today.

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Section Three

Building effective relationships with NHS buyers

In this section, we outline three top tips from industry experts, offering strategic advice for NHS suppliers. These insights focus on pre-engagement tactics that align with the unique dynamics and challenges that form the NHS procurement process.

1. Understand and empathise with NHS organisations.

At a Stotles hosted Giant Health conference in December 2023, Rammy Arafa advised NHS suppliers the importance of deeply understanding the needs of your buyers:

“Understand the NHS structure and the challenges and needs of that specific organisation. If you go in looking to sell, you won’t succeed. You need to understand what their strategy is, and what their challenges are.” 

Stotles can offer suppliers deeper insights into NHS organisations by surfacing contextual signals in strategic documents and procurement data, helping you tailor your approach to their unique requirements.

2. Integrate your solutions and adapt to your buyers' needs.

At the same Giant Health panel, Mark Thomas provided insights from the perspective of an NHS buying organisation.  He spoke to the importance of solution integration, and framing your services to the benefit of the buying organisation system.

“Don’t bring anything 'revolutionary' that sits into a silo. Bring tech together to the benefit of the clinician/the care provider/the resident/the carer, that plugs together and plays. Those are the big drivers. Oh, and cost-effectiveness.” 

In addition, Mark also stressed the importance for suppliers to adapt to each ICB’s vision and strategy, as needs can vary significantly. 

“Understand how your product fits in with the ICB’s vision and strategy. Each ICB has a different sets of needs, so make sure it is adapted. What works in Devon might not work in the centre of London”

3. Develop a proactive approach. 

Speaking at our NHS Supplier Masterclass in June 2023, Uko Umotong emphasised the importance of developing a proactive approach towards identifying NHS contracts.

"You have to get ahead of the curve. In some instances it’s frameworks and in some instances it's tenders. Are you aware of all the frameworks and tenders emerging in your product area?”

Stotles can be your companion in this, providing relevant updates on upcoming frameworks and tenders based on your market signals. Uko noted:

“Systems can sometimes buy without going to tender. It’s about going ahead of the curve, so you are speaking to them before the business case goes in.”

With the new Procurement Act, light touch contracts will become more and more common. Identifying key decision makers and proactively engaging over known market signals has never been so important.

Section four

Master winning routes to market

Now that we have explained the key trends for the year ahead, including the importance of data-led strategies and building relationships, this final section coaches you with exclusive tutorials from Stotles leaders on how to gain a competitive advantage in the NHS ecosystem.

1. Find and qualify relevant contracts with Alberto 

Presented by Alberto Santos, Stotles Customer Success Manager, watch this webinar to learn how to effectively use Stotles' advanced filtering tools to identify relevant opportunities and easily qualify by region, topic, buyer or previous supplier involvement.

The webinar also highlights how Stotles AI easily surfaces signals in historical contract information to help you find future opportunities emerging across frameworks and tenders.

It's an interactive session packed with practical tips, making it ideal for suppliers seeking to understand how to begin identifying NHS opportunities.

2. Create a winning Go-To-Market strategy with Adam and Andre

Join Adam, a Customer Success Manager at Stotles, and Andre Martin, a Strategic Market Insights Analyst at Civica, in this insightful webinar recording on 'Creating a Public Sector GTM Strategy'.

This session dives deeper into our tooling than the previous episode, offering a comprehensive look at how to develop effective strategies in the public sector. Learn from Adam's expert demonstration of Stotles' capabilities, including market analysis, competitor and partner modules, and how to utilise contract award data for precise market sizing.

Andre shares his expertise on how he uses Stotles to develop detailed GTM plans, risk analyses, and profit maximisation. This webinar stands out for its blend of practical platform use and strategic market insights, making it a crucial watch for suppliers eager to gain a competitive edge.

3. Learn to build effective partnerships with John and Liam

Join Stotles' Co-Founder/CEO John Witt, and Liam Lindgren, Multitime's Head of UK Sales for this webinar recording on "Leveraging Partnerships for Public Sector Growth".

Watch the video to understand different strategic partnership types, including affiliate, reseller, and implementation. You will learn from John on how you can use Stotles to identify and track potential partners. Liam provides practical examples and case studies about how to implement these partnerships in practice.

This session is useful for suppliers seeking to enhance their partnership strategies, especially with the NHS's move towards more light touch contracts this year.

Section 5

Conclusion and next steps...

In summary, the NHS landscape in 2024 presents challenges for suppliers, but lucrative opportunties await for suppliers able to develop a proactive and data-led approach. To thrive, suppliers should leverage data-driven insights and proactive engagement strategies, aligning closely with NHS priorities and operational guidance. Stotles plays a pivotal role in this journey, offering critical insights and tools to effectively identify NHS contract and build lasting relationships with key decision makers.

To set yourself up for success in the NHS, get started with Stotles for free or book a demo with the links below.

Accelerate your NHS Sales