Like many of BiP Solutions’ recent procurement events, P4H England took the decision to move to a digital platform for 2020, becoming P4H England Engage.
Taking place on 6th October, P4H England Engage still lived up to its billing as England’s leading annual NHS procurement event as it brought together a wealth of key decision makers and leading suppliers from across England’s healthcare procurement and supply chain marketplace.
The event, officially supported by NHS Supply Chain, saw representatives from both the public and private sectors gather virtually to learn about the latest developments in healthcare procurement, network with their peers and build new and lasting business relationships.
P4H England Engage saw over 850 attendees on the day and hosted a range of interactive features including the Keynote Arena, three Procurement Skills Development Zones and the Product Showcase Exhibition.
Professor Duncan Eaton, Executive Advisor to the All-Party Parliamentary Health Group, chaired the Keynote Arena, which provided crucial insight into the major themes currently dominating procurement in health.
Unsurprisingly, COVID-19 was a dominant theme across the event with stories shared about incredible efforts to keep the virus from overwhelming the NHS and also valuable lessons learned along the way.
Delivering the first address was Chris Holmes, Director of Supply Chain, NHS Supply Chain, who examined the topic of The Resilience and Reliability of NHS Supply Chain Operations.
Mr Holmes spoke about the challenges posed by COVID-19, saying: “The biggest challenges and the biggest lessons are around how do you prepare and equip yourselves for this type of pandemic in the future.
“We are working with other government organisations to ensure that we understand what the planning assumptions are and that we’ve got products and services in place to help meet those as we move into the winter months.”
He also took the opportunity to confirm that Core Technology Refresh Programme (CTRP) is still progressing, including the replacement of current warehouse management system, Resus, and moving to Oracle – a cloud-based solution, currently being developed.
Next up was Jo Gander, Director of Clinical and Product Assurance (CaPA), NHS Supply Chain, who discussed the role of CaPA within the supply chain.
She told the virtual audience that the assurance framework developed by the CaP
A team aims to ensure that all products sourced through NHS Supply Chain are value for money, fit for purpose and represent end user needs.
Preeya Baillie, Director of Procurement Transformation and Commercial Delivery, NHS England and NHS Improvement, followed and delivered a session on commercial collaboration.
She said: “One of the key lessons learned from the COVID -19 pandemic from a commercial standpoint has been the ability and willingness to stand and deliver against an objective collaboratively as one NHS.”
Ms Baillie gave an update on the Procurement Target Operating Model (PTOM) and outlined its two objectives: the NHS harnessing its buying power to get best value for money for goods and services and also working with suppliers and the market to deliver better patient outcomes.
She also provided an update on the formation of a new digital commercial council, which would see “all the NHS commercial leads sit at a table together to develop the NHS Digital Commercial Strategy.”
Ms Baillie said the first council will be held in the next few months with the aim to begin implementation of the Strategy in 2021.
James Minards, Country Sales Manager UK & Ireland at GHX UK Ltd, P4H England Engage’s Headline Platinum Sponsor, followed. He looked at the key differences between healthcare and other industries and how COVID-19 had amplified the urgency around improved inventory management.
Mr Minards explained: “With complete visibility of all stock and information on usage, you can drive further efficiencies while enabling the rationalisation of stockholding and minimising wastage.”
Helen Buckingham, Director of Strategy and Operations at Nuffield Trust, examined the priorities and current issues facing the NHS.
Ms Buckingham said that COVID-19 wasn’t the only challenge facing the NHS today and highlighted the workforce gap, failings in system working and the social care system as key priorities to address.
She said: “Social care is critical to the NHS as well as being an important thing in its own right but if we look at the social care system and its workforce, we see there are even more vacancies across the social care workforce than the NHS.”
Stuart MacMillan, Lead, Scan4 Safety, WYAAT (West Yorkshire Association of Acute Trusts), gave a session on Procurement Efficiency at Scale.
He spoke about the opportunity to cut potential wastage through digital innovation: “We want to make sure everything we do is clinically led and clinically focused, whilst maintaining the fact that we need to innovate digitally and improve all of our supply chain practices.”
The last keynote speech was given by Mat Oram, CEO & Founder, Advise Inc on Tracking & Forecasting PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He highlighted the successes of the inventory management system, Stockwatch, in using its data to monitor PPE supplies and allowing A+E departments to remain open as they reached breaking point dealing with the pandemic.
Mr Oram explained: “Stockwatch has been cited by Greater Manchester as undoubtedly saving lives. It is now in one of the strongest positions in any region, knowing how much PPE they have, where it’s located and how long it will last.”
The event also included a range of training sessions delivered by Eddie Regan, Principal Procurement Consultant at PASS, that gave some key procurement guidance.
Hot talking points emerging from the Keynote presentations were continued in the lively P4H England discussion boards with Eddie Regan joining Preeya Baillie and James Minard to lend their expertise to the debate.
Whilst undoubtedly the priority for the NHS and its supply chain is to continue to deal with COVD-19 pandemic, the hope for all remains that the event will be able to return to its physical form on 2021. However, as P4H Engage demonstrated, a virtual platform still provided a welcome opportunity for the health supply chain to connect and engage.
Couldn’t make P4H England Engage on the day? You can still gain access to presentations and exhibitions from England’s leading annual NHS procurement and supply chain event by registering here.