Sandwell Council, an award winning local authority, today announces the official launch of the West Midlands Virtual Hospital (WMVH), a digital procurement tool which will showcase the skills, knowledge and expertise of West Midlands’ companies in the UK and abroad.

The state-of-the-art WMVH has already generated significant interest from local businesses, with over 400 companies expressing an interest in the initiative and/or creating profiles to showcase their expertise, experience and capabilities in supplying critical products and services for the design, manufacture and operation of a 21st-century healthcare facility.

The WMVH is also attracting the attention of international businesses looking to procure products and services, putting local businesses on the map and showcasing their capabilities in delivering large infrastructure projects.

Commenting on the launch of the project, Jan Britton, CEO of Sandwell Council, said: “Our region is fortunate to have some of the UK’s brightest minds in clinical design, advanced manufacturing, built-environment, and medical and science technologies. The West Midlands Virtual Hospital will create a visually appealing digital directory of our talented firms, which can be used by hospital and healthcare buyers across the world.”

Councillor Ian Jones, Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for jobs and the economy, added that the WMVH has significant potential to create international growth opportunities for local businesses: “The West Midlands Virtual Hospital could be a catalyst for design and procurement best practice, allowing our small and medium-size enterprises to prosper both in home markets and potentially overseas.”

Sandwell Council expects that the WMVH could translate into real-life business opportunities for qualified firms. It is hoped that construction companies would use the tool to learn about the expertise in Sandwell and procure local talent, from building materials and fabrications through to interior furnishings, clinical equipment and medical technology.

The Council is currently working with specialist partners to build the IT infrastructure for the WMVH – including the new website – which is expected to be completed in February 2015. Upon completion, all firms that have expressed interest in the project would be able to register and create profiles.