Critical Infrastructure at a Critical Time - Facilitating Over 8 Billion Items of PPE Transacted

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About the Client

The Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) is a ministerial department of the government. Its main objective is to help people to live more independent, healthier lives for longer. DHSC sets the overall strategy, funds and oversees the health and social care system with, and through, its 28 agencies and public bodies. 


The Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) faced challenges in efficiently distributing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to healthcare providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. While a temporary solution using eBay was implemented initially, a more secure and centralised platform was needed for long-term distribution. 

While our development team was designing and developing the new commerce platform, DHSC sought a partner to architect a highly resilient and scalable AWS platform that could handle the distribution of free PPE to over 62,000 healthcare organisation users. The platform had to adhere to strict NHS-SC security standards, maintain uptime and performance, and accommodate sudden increases in usage and scale during high-traffic periods. 

Additionally, managing the migration of users and relevant data from the previous solution posed logistical and operational challenges for DHSC and required a smooth transition to the new platform.

Project Highlights


Once the development team had architected the new solution, it had received extensive testing, quality assurance phases, and client demonstrations, it was deployed to our prepared production infrastructure. 

To meet scalability and redundancy requirements, we deployed the solution on a highly resilient AWS infrastructure, incorporating load balancing, Amazon’s EC2 instances, relational database service (RDS) databases, Elastic File System (EFS) for file storage, and Simple Email Service (SES) for email communication. Extensive testing, including rigorous load testing using, ensured optimal performance and reliability.

Throughout the migration phase, our team managed the onboarding of users and data from the previous solution to the new platform. This included performance monitoring, data migrations, and staged user invitations to ensure a smooth transition.

Our team strictly adhered to ISO 27001 and Cyber Essentials Plus certification standards to ensure the platform's security and compliance with NHS-SC.
The migration earned universally positive feedback, leading to the platform’s recognition as an Adobe Commerce success story.


In response to the urgent need for a secure and efficient platform for distributing PPE during COVID-19, DHSC partnered with us to develop a solution. The new platform achieved remarkable results within a short timeframe. 

Over 8.75 billion items of PPE and related stock were ordered through the e-portal in just five months, facilitating timely access to critical protective equipment for over 62,000 healthcare organisation users.

A smooth migration process saw all users move onto the new system within six weeks, while positive feedback from respondents in a survey highlighted the platform’s effectiveness and user satisfaction. 

The platform stands ready to handle future challenges, ensuring continued support for frontline workers in times of need.

Key results include:

8.75 billion items of PPE and related stock ordered through e-portal in 5 months

62,000 Users migrated to the new system within 6 weeks

Positive User Feedback: During the soft launch of the new portal, the department carried out a survey and received 446 responses; a total of 96% of respondents stated they were either “very satisfied” (76%) or “satisfied” (20%) with the new website

Enhanced Efficiency: The platform facilitated the efficient distribution of PPE to over 62,000 healthcare organisation users, ensuring timely access to critical protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Improved Security: Strict adherence to ISO 27001 and Cyber Essentials Plus ensures the platform’s security and compliance with NHS-SC standards while improving the safeguarding of sensitive healthcare data.

Scalability and Resilience: The AWS infrastructure’s scalability and redundancy across zones enabled the platform to handle sudden increases in usage and scale should another pandemic arise in the future.

Feedback so far has been very positive. Customers have told us that they are more confident using the more user-friendly portal. In just over two years since we set up the first version of the e-Portal, we have worked with over 58,000 registered providers and delivered billions of items, that’s something we’re incredibly proud of. We’re well-positioned for future and ongoing distribution requirements that come our way.

Vishal Wilde, Former Policy and Communications Lead for the PPE e-Portal platform, Department of Health and Social Care (UK)