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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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Leading Healthcare Procurement Innovation: P4H

P4H

Revolution is coming to the NHS, with efficiency at its heart. Spurring this efficiency drive is the UK Government commissioned Review of Operational Productivity in NHS providers, which set the NHS the goal of making 10-15% real-terms cost savings by April 2021. Here, BiP journalist Julie Shennan examines the report’s recommendations and how the forthcoming P4H conference – on 13 July, at the NEC Birmingham – can help suppliers meet them.

Background

In 2015, Lord Patrick Carter forecast that £5bn annually could be saved by encouraging NHS England Trusts to use the same e-tendering portals and key performance indicators, as well as by improving purchase ordering and staff attendance levels.

These guidelines were contained in the Carter Review of Operational Productivity (an Independent Report for the Department of Health) commissioned in 2014, drafted in 2015 and finalised in 2016. In this Review, Lord Carter compared 22 leading English hospitals to see how the NHS could get best value for money.

Wider picture

Although concentrating on operational productivity across the NHS in England, the Carter Review has relevance for all the home nations of the UK, with health authorities facing universal pressures of ageing populations and tightening budgets that require efficiencies to be made.

This challenge was acknowledged by BSO Health and Social Care Executive Director of Operations (UK and Ireland) Sam Waide, who said: “One of the big issues the health and social care sector faces is greater demand for community services. This is a positive thing for patients, as they get more tailored care, but it also brings strain on decreasing budgets.”

Recommendations

Recognising the need for NHS buyers and private sector suppliers to deliver more services with fewer resources, Lord Carter proposed changes that could tighten the supply chain.

He suggested:

  • Improving workflow by minimising absences;
  • Optimising hospital pharmacies, medicines and estates;
  • Unifying NHS ordering into one e-procurement catalogue;
  • Sharing best practice models to promote good procurement.

Government agenda

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is now calling on the NHS to ensure every penny is spent in the most effective way for patients to improve standards of care while reducing costs. The Government particularly wants to see lessons learnt by hospitals that are not as efficient as they could be across all areas of their work, thereby driving bigger gains for patient care.

Mr Hunt said: “Nothing better embodies our belief in ‘one nation’ than the NHS, so I want to see a seven-day health service that delivers for working people. That means cutting out the waste and making sure every penny counts so that the quality of care continues to improve.”

How P4H can help

Both Mr Hunt and Lord Carter suggest sharing best practice is essential to smart health procurement. However, the vast size of the sector can mean that healthcare buyers and suppliers often miss the chance to learn from their peers.

This is where P4H, the UK’s premier healthcare procurement event, can help.

On 13 July 2016, at the NEC Birmingham, P4H will welcome hundreds of healthcare buyers and suppliers, from all parts of the UK supply chain.

The event will facilitate professional networking in the dedicated Buyer Engagement Village, Product Showcase Exhibition and Collaboration Zones. Knowledge sharing will be high on the agenda in the P4H Keynote Arena, where healthcare thought leaders will discuss their experiences and give pointers to future best practice. Finally, in tailored workshop settings, the P4H Best Practice Case Study Zone and Procurement Advice Hub will give guidance to those seeking to implement procurement change.

All this advice will be backed with procurement training in the P4H Buyer Skills Development,Supplier and eProcurement Training Zones.

Gain these and many more invaluable healthcare insights.

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