NHS Procurement Report – Delivering immediate efficiency and productivity gains

Today we’ll look at some of the key recommendations in the new National Health Service procurement report issued this week, “Better Procurement, Better Value, Better Care: a Procurement Development Programme for the NHS”.

To oversee the programme, there’s going to be a NHS Procurement Development Oversight Board, chaired by the junior Minister, Dan Poulter.

Then there will be a “private-sector figurehead, Procurement Champion to drive the modernisation of procurement across the NHS… The individual will be of sufficient standing and credibility to command attention and respect from within the NHS and all sectors, and will be responsible for overseeing delivery of the actions in this report. He or she will also chair a new NHS Procurement Delivery Board to support the Oversight Board”.

The “figurehead” word is a bit odd there, and it’s not clear if this is a full-time proper job or a part-time position.  It’s also not clear if we’re talking someone who knows about procurement and supply chain, or just a recognisable name, one of the usual suspects, a business person friendly to the current administration (and no jokes about David Dickinson please).  The Delivery Board will include stakeholders from many groups (Monitor, Cabinet Office, NHS Confederation etc.) which seems like a sensible idea.

Now we’re into the first of the four major initiatives – “Delivering immediate efficiency and productivity  gains”. This includes the aim to combat inflation in non-staff spend that we mentioned yesterday, and a plan to engage top suppliers – in the same way that the Cabinet Office’s re-negotiations with top suppliers brought apparent benefits. This is tough in a devolved system like Health, but the idea is to engage Chief Executives of Trusts to lead the discussions.

There will also be some NHS Supply Chain “quick wins”, although little detail is given, and the drive on temporary staff costs which we mentioned the other day has potential to take 25% out of the total spend in that category.  There’s a section on Premises, including comments about surplus land, but with little real detail again. All of this is good stuff, but the devil will of course be in the delivery.

Then the sector will be  working “with the Cabinet Office and Government Procurement Service to deliver similar savings in the NHS” on common category spend items like Telecoms and print. there’s no description however of how this collaboration with GPS might actually work.

A “simple price comparison system” will be set up, with Audit Committee chairs of Trusts asked to provide details on a basket of 15 items each quarter . Interesting again, although getting compliance across the board may prove a challenge I suspect, and as always in these exercises, ensuring we really are comparing apples with apples and bandages with bandages will be key. .

That takes us onto initiative two – “Improve data, information and transparency” – so more on that tomorrow.

Discuss this:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *