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P4H 2016 review

P4H 2016The air was electric with possibility at the NEC, Birmingham on 13 July for this year’s P4H conference and exhibition. Representatives from both the public and private sectors descended on the venue from across the UK to learn about the latest developments in healthcare procurement, network with their peers and build new and lasting business relationships. Here, BiP Solutions journalist Domhnall Macinnes recounts some of the events of the day.

Opportunity began in the keynote arena at P4H 2016 – The Procurement Event for Health, held on 13 July at the NEC, Birmingham.

Kicking off the keynote speeches was meeting chair Professor Duncan Eaton, Executive Advisor at the All-Party Parliamentary Health Group, who launched the audience into an enthralling series of addresses which set the tone for the day and encapsulated the value of P4H, attracting delegates from all corners of the venue.

Professor Eaton said: “The event today intends to bring together those from the procurement world and suppliers to listen and talk and be informed and contribute to the future of health procurement. This keynote arena is a major part of the programme. We’ve put together a range of speakers to tell us about current initiatives and their views of the future.”

Renowned names in procurement such as Managing Director of Marc1 Ltd Colin Cram proceeded to inform the packed arena about emerging developments in the healthcare procurement landscape. Mr Cram’s talk, entitled ‘Brexit – The challenges and opportunities for NHS procurement’, was one not to be missed.

Following his speech, Mr Cram commented: “What I’d really like for people to take from my speech today is that they need to raise their game in procurement. Instead of looking at ways of just saving procurement costs and reducing prices, see what opportunities and what products there are available that will help reduce NHS costs overall.”

He continued: “All of the smaller companies find it almost impossible to engage with NHS hospitals as they’d have to try and sell to them one by one. Small companies do not have the resources to do so.

“I reckon that if procurement people took advantage of the opportunities out there – doing things differently – the potential savings for the NHS and the benefits to patients would be immeasurable.”

Professor Eaton also introduced Pat Mills, Commercial Director, Department of Health, who delivered a stimulating address enititled ‘NHS Procurement – The National Programme’. Mr Mills discussed the value of making savings within the NHS and the immeasurably valuable things that could be done with these savings.

Later in an interview, he reflected on his speech: “The key message I would like people to take away with them today is about money. Money is critical. We want to go about making savings, and procurement is a great way of doing that. The procurement community as a whole in general can deliver maybe £1 billion worth of savings. That’s two hospitals a year. But we’ve got to work together.”

Within the event’s dedicated buyer and supplier zones, stakeholders from across the public and private sector took advantage of the various hubs offering networking and advice. At the Best Practice Case Study Zone, delegates were offered a unique opportunity to learn from the past successes of others through explanatory presentations. Nick Hodgson, Supplier Development Advisor for the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, was at the zone co-presenting on the Savings Swap Shop, a programme which has enabled ten NHS trusts in the south west of England and beyond to save in excess of £850,000 through sharing ideas for efficiencies in procurement.

Mr Hodgson said: “It’s important for people to attend events such as P4H for the same principle as our message today. It’s about collaboration – getting together and realising that everyone in different hospitals and different organisations is actually working on the same projects. So they may have a better way of working on things which can help us save time, find efficiencies and ultimately save money as well.”

On the arena floor, partners, exhibitors and sponsors networked throughout the day with stakeholders, meeting delegates at their stands to plant the seeds of blossoming new relationships.

Naomi Clews, Senior Category Lead at the Crown Commercial Service, mused on the vital role P4H plays and why the CCS acted as an official partner to the event: “We absolutely want to make ourselves visible to as many suppliers and customers, especially within the NHS, as possible. Bringing buyers and suppliers together is really important. It’s the only way that we can learn and innovate and get better for our customers in the NHS. The information that we gain at P4H is the information that we take back to redevelop some of our strategies.”

Building upon this year’s success, next year’s event promises to deliver even more opportunities to buyers and suppliers in the healthcare sector. With yet another busy schedule of engagement, advice and professional development, P4H will return in summer 2017.

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Collaboration in Healthcare Supply Chains: P4H

Jim Miller NHSNHS National Services Scotland is a national NHS board which provides help and support to NHS Scotland. Jim Miller, NHS National Services Scotland’s Interim Director Procurement, Commissioning and Facilities, will be at the keynote arena at the P4H 2016 conference in Birmingham on 13 July to delivering an unmissable speech. Ahead of the event, BiP Solutions journalist Domhnall Macinnes caught up with Mr Miller to hear about collaborative procurement and the future of UK healthcare procurement.

Background

Jim Miller has a wide variety of procurement experience across both the public and private sectors. He worked in sectors ranging from aviation to construction to public administration prior to joining NHS Scotland in 2006 as Director of Strategic Sourcing. In September 2015 he became Interim Director of Procurement, Commissioning and Facilities at NHS National Services Scotland.

Mr Miller said: “I lead a strategic business unit which encompasses the national collaborative procurement organisation, which provides contract and supply chain solutions across all 22 Scottish health organisations. Additionally, the organisation provides specialist commissioning and population screening services, and is the centre of expertise for facilities, engineering and environmental management.”

A piece of collaborative advice

Mr Miller discussed collaborative procurement and its importance, and had some advice for buyers considering it. Collaborative procurement is aimed at aiding the Scottish public sector to form partnerships between buying organisations, the Centres of Expertise (CoE) and suppliers, creating real value for money.

He counselled: “Don’t be afraid! There are lots of examples where this has worked really well. Equally, the venture is only as good as the weakest link.

“We have recently developed a new type of collaborative arrangement in Scotland where the strength lies with the members, who effectively self-regulate the system. We will not achieve further productivity gains, embrace innovation or truly support the health service if we work in isolation.”

Work together

Mr Miller also had advice for suppliers thinking of selling to collaborative procurement ventures. It is his firm view that buyers and suppliers must work together.

He commented: “Work with them. Understand that they (the buyers) may be trying to gauge the benefit of collaboration as well. Identify how the collaboration can be of mutual benefit by, for example, reducing the ‘cost to serve’ and identify how this can translate to commercial advantage.

“Also be aware of the cost of change; it will be more complex to implement across multiple sites than a single site, for example, but it also provides opportunities to standardise and support single systems of care.”

A problem and a solution

Mr Miller says that increasing demand and decreasing budgets is the primary challenge facing UK healthcare today. He argues that a move to a preventative healthcare system is vital, and procurement needs to be taking this on board in order to be prepared.

Thankfully, however, as he notes, NHS National Services Scotland is already taking steps to prepare for these challenges.

He explained: “We are the largest shared service organisation in Scotland. We currently provide a range of services including procurement and supply chain but also, for example, central legal services, payment services to primary care, counter-fraud services and health information services, amongst others. The ability to provide a complete range of services allows Health Boards to concentrate on the delivery of patient care and preventative healthcare.”

The future

Concluding, Mr Miller looked to the near future of UK healthcare procurement and the changes that he foresees occurring. He discussed three primary areas he feels should most be focused on. He touched again on collaboration and preventative healthcare, but said he hopes to see collaborative relationships evolving into something more.

Mr Miller said: “I would concentrate on three areas. Firstly, collaboration maturing into true partnering, which includes the market and providers as well as the health service. The phrase is used a lot but there is a long way to go.

“Secondly, the move towards a preventative healthcare culture and increased patient decision-making will require very different commercial and delivery models.

“Thirdly, to reference Simon Syneck, start with the why. In other words, it’s very easy to concentrate on savings, delivery performance, product and service availability and so on. We are all here to serve the patient and improve the health of the population. Plugging this into the procurement DNA will, I believe, continue to motivate the healthcare procurement community.”

On P4H

The good news for delegates attending this year’s P4H conference at the NEC, Birmingham is that Mr Miller will be in attendance for the entire event and is offering one-on-one sessions on the day or with prior notice.

With regard to the event itself, Mr Miller touched on P4H’s value in promoting best procurement practice.

He said: “The health landscape is changing dramatically and procurement has a significant part to play in making the changes successful and sustainable. Sharing and learning from colleagues within health and, just as importantly, the market is key. P4H provides this opportunity in one place.

“The whole event looks very interesting. For me one of the primary benefits is to interact with colleagues working in other parts of the health system across the UK.”

How P4H can help you

This year’s P4H event is set to offer a prime occasion for collaboration, with the PH4 Collaboration Zones providing delegates the chance to learn about both buyer and supplier opportunities.

Delegates will be offered the chance to network with buyers in the Buyer Engagement Village, boosting your peer contact list.

Delegates will also have the unique opportunity to meet with representatives of the NHS and furthermore hear advice from industry experts in the same prime location.

Don’t miss your chance to attend.

Register for P4H today

Sharing Healthcare Procurement Best Practice: P4H

John Swords

While healthcare authorities across the UK’s devolved nations differ in structure and funding, they face the common challenges of budget cuts and aging populations. Suggesting how these challenges can be tackled is Head of Procurement in the Health Service Executive Ireland, John Swords. Mr Swords will be speaking at the P4H conference on 13 July, at the NEC Birmingham. BiP Solutions journalist Julie Shennan heard some of his insights ahead of the conference.

Background

John Swords was appointed Head of Procurement in the Health Service Executive (HSE) in 2010. His 30-year career in HSE has seen him work both in its Finance and Procurement departments. Now Mr Swords is responsible for the strategic operational development and management of all procurement-related activity in the HSE.

The Problem

In his role, Mr Swords examines ways of addressing Ireland’s decreasing health budget and aging population, a combination which puts strain on healthcare resources.

He said: “The money being invested into health sector procurement is shrinking while the demand for services is growing, so we have to create efficiencies that will reduce costs and make services sustainable.”

The Solution

Once efficient procurement models are found, Mr Swords explained they must be translated into benefits for the patient, monitored and communicated, so that stakeholders understand their value and support their implementation.

He said: “If we manage to positively impact the patient experience, then we can use this experience to convince senior management to invest time and effort into procurement change.”

Best Practice Example

Mr Swords is doing just that while working on Ireland’s ‘One Voice’ project. This project involves a three-year HSE Procurement Plan based around improving its sourcing, logistics and systems while showing the benefits they will bring to front line services.

The Head of Procurement said: “Misconceptions about procurement are still barriers when it comes to efficient supply chains. But I think that in the future people will have a better idea of the real impact healthcare procurement has on patients.”

Future Forecast

Continuing to look to the future, Mr Swords predicted that healthcare will continue to focus on collaborative solutions.

He said: “I think the future of healthcare will involve central solutions, but delivering them at a more local or regional level.”

This means public and private sector stakeholders working more closely together towards the same goals.

Mr Swords explained: “Some of the procurement decisions that need to be made can’t be, because we haven’t the harmony between public sector and third sector health organisations.

“The biggest challenge that we face in the health sector is that we are mandated to be a single entity, but we are not there yet; so we have to change the way we work. “

P4H

Mr Swords will be on hand to discuss this and many more issues, at P4H following his keynote speech.

He said: “We want people to know that the Health Service Executive is open for business.”

P4H will allow delegates to share pearls of wisdom through its Buyer Engagement Village, Product Showcase Exhibition and Collaboration Zones, Keynote Arena, Best Practice Case Study Zone and Procurement Advice Hub.

Meanwhile, e-procurement products and services will be demonstrated live on the P4H conference floor, giving guidance to those seeking to boost their business, while e-procurement will also be the focus of one of the Training Zones.

In addition, the Buyer Skills Development, Supplier and Best Practice Case Study Training Zones will offer CPD certified sessions to reinforce and expand on the advice and ideas available throughout P4H.

Don’t miss your chance to attend.

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Expanding Healthcare Supply Chains: P4H

Edward James

Pushing on with its efficiency drive, the UK NHS is streamlining its healthcare procurement, while trying to maintain quality of care and SME engagement. Discussing the scope and possible solutions to this challenge, NHS London Procurement Partnership (LPP) Workstream Lead Edward James will be speaking at the P4H conference on 13 July, at the NEC Birmingham. BiP Solutions journalist Julie Shennan heard his top procurement tips ahead of the conference.

Background

In his work with LPP Edward James manages its estates, facilities and professional services. Currently this includes managing 14 frameworks and two Dynamic Purchasing Systems (DPS) as well as preparing another framework and further three DPS for delivery this year.

Bringing this wealth of knowledge to P4H, Mr James will talk at its Buyer Skills Development Training Zone, in a session titled The Solution to Boosting SME Participation in Public Sector Contracts? Dynamic Purchasing Systems.

The Problem

During the session, Mr James will highlight the barriers that SMEs face when entering the healthcare supply chain, such as contracts where the value is too high for them to enter the tender processes.

He said: “Under the Public Contract Regulations suppliers can only bid for contracts up to twice the value of their annual turnover. If there is an even greater consolidation of procurement departments, then contract values will be higher, which means that more local SMEs will be excluded from bidding for the contracts because their turnover will be too low.”

Mr James explained that this was an unintended consequence of NHS efficiencies and increased collaborative procurement.

He added: “Healthcare buyers face the conflicting priorities of trying to drive down costs but also trying to engage with SMEs, as part of a localism agenda. NHS finances are as tight as they have ever been, so now all buyers must find ways of driving down cost without compromising the quality of care.”

The Solution

Mr James cited Dynamic Purchasing Systems (DPS) as a good way of getting more SMEs into the healthcare supply chain without compromising on cost or quality.

Similar to an Electronic Framework Agreement, a DPS provides a shortlist of suppliers from which buyers can conduct an e-competition for tenders. Unlike a Framework Agreement, suppliers can apply to join the DPS at any point during its cycle.

However, Mr James acknowledged that DPS were a high maintenance procedure, with invitations to tender mandatory for each DPS requirement; replies to PQQs needed within 10 days; and no limit on the number of suppliers that can join.

Choose the Right Route to Market

Mr James advised supply chain professionals to think through their route to market, whether Dynamic Purchasing System, Framework or other.

He said: “Buyers must ensure that they select the best procurement route for the goods, services and works required.”

Just as buyers must choose the tender procedure most likely to produce their desired results, suppliers must enter the tender procedures they are most likely to win.

Choose the right E-procurement Solution

As well as utilising the correct tender procedures, Mr James said buyers and suppliers must use e-procurement tools to help them enter or manage health contracts.

He said: “The Minor Building Works DPS [delivered by LPP] showed LPP that buyers must strive to find an e-procurement system that meets all of their requirements to get the best results.”

Learn from your Past and your Peers

Finally, Mr James suggested procurement officials should evaluate projects they or their colleagues have worked on, repeat the elements that were successful and avoid making the same mistakes.

He said: “Buyers must share best practice among their peers and avoid the protectionist attitude that can come with local government procurement.

“The best procurement people will utilise the knowledge and skills of those around them to get the best results for their customers.”

How P4H can Help

P4H can help buyers and suppliers meet all of Mr James’ recommendations.

The event will allow delegates to share pearls of wisdom through its Buyer Engagement Village, Product Showcase Exhibition and Collaboration Zones, Keynote Arena, Best Practice Case Study Zone and Procurement Advice Hub.

Meanwhile, e-procurement products and services will be demonstrated live on the P4H conference floor, giving guidance to those seeking to boost their business while e-procurement will also be the focus of one of the Training Zones.

In addition, the Buyer Skills Development, Supplier and Best Practice Case Study Training Zones will offer CPD certified sessions to reinforce and expand on the advice and ideas available throughout P4H.

Don’t miss your chance to attend.

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