NHS Procurement Report – Improve data, information and transparency

Today we’ll look at some more 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”.

The second key initiative is “Improve data, information and transparency”.  A noble aim, I’m sure we would agree. All of these are ‘just’ enablers of course , contributing to the drive to achieve better value – but important enablers nonetheless.

A key building block for this is the use of a common product coding – GS1.

“To guide and support the NHS we will publish an ‘eProcurement strategy’ for the NHS in September 2013, setting out actions for the development of national and local infrastructure that’s supports the adoption of GS1”.

 It’s not clear how broad this ‘eProcurement strategy’ is going to be – is it the whole P2P picture? Or are we just talking about the coding and data element? Anyway, the use of GS1 is to be mandated – one of the few occasions in the report where the “m” word is used.  Here’s the full list of actions around this point.

  • mandate through contracts the use of GS1 coding for the NHS
  • create a single NHS GS1 data pool for the NHS to use in its systems
  • centrally invest in enabling Product Information Management and Messaging technologies
  • create a single ‘data warehouse’ for NHS procurement data
  • define standards to ensure interoperability between e-Procurement systems
  • establish standards for datasets and classification
  • put implementation support arrangements in place for trusts to draw upon.

 And on a similar mandated note, transparency will be increased by “requiring providers of NHS healthcare – through the NHS Standard Contract – to publish all procurement data, including opportunities, expenditure and contracts on their websites and Contracts Finder”

That’s one of the more dramatic steps in the whole report, we’d suggest. And there will also be a single “NHS spend Analysis and Price Benchmarking Service”.  Will that be built, or bought, or based on an existing service? We’ll have to wait and see.  But if it all works, it will certainly be a big help in identifying opportunities and indeed highlighting the laggards in the system.

There’s also a dashboard of procurement performance metrics,

 “It has been developed through an extensive process of engagement, dialogue and pilot testing with representatives from procurement, finance and senior management in NHS trusts, supplemented by input from professional associations and experts in the field of procurement”.

We may come back just to this at some point – there’s enough in the dashboard to analyse at length its strengths (and perhaps some weaknesses) in much greater detail. But tomorrow we’ll move onto the third initiative – “ Improving outcomes at reduced cost through clinical procurement review partnerships”.

First Voice

  1. Beerstalker:

    HI Peter – It would be really interesting to see responses from the likes of J&J and S&N to this report and how they will work with the NHS to help them facilitate these changes as opposed to their normal modus operandi of divide and conquer. I seem to remember that J&J had 12 seperate operating divsions supplying the NHS all of which had separate P&L’s thus stopping any chance of aggregating spend.

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