Leading Healthcare Procurement Innovation: P4H

healthcare procurementRevolution 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.


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.”


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.


Transforming health Procurement: Sam Waide

In anticipation of his keynote speech at Procurex Ireland Live 2016, BSO Health and Social Care Executive Director of Operations, Sam Waide, spoke with BiP Solutions reporter Julie Shennan to discuss the challenges of bringing healthcare into the 21st century.

Mr Waide outlined these challenges as standardisation, technological innovation, increased demand on services and slow pace of change.

He explained: “Standardisation has been a challenge to enforce, not just in the supply of products, but also in customer interaction with BSO as a healthcare provider.

“Northern Ireland has a population of 1.7 million and there are six health trusts, all of whose customers operate differently. So BSO have had to synchronise these services. It has done this by forming a regional procurement group, with representatives from all of the health trusts. This group meets regularly and shares best practice advice.”

Further to this, Mr Waide explained that BSO’s Collective Senior Executive group is focused on category management, standardising the products that they offer patients.

These are just two of the many ways BSO is using technological innovation to promote best practice.

Mr Waide said: “BSO is working to get more out of the technology it implements and to optimise the data that sits in the systems at its warehouses.

“BSO has identified research to enhance its systems and processes, joining up business intelligence and optimising management and performance information.”

Technological innovation is just part of the plan to meet the increased demand on healthcare services.

Mr Waide explained: “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.”

With budgetary constraints and procurement bureaucracy, Mr Waide said healthcare providers are often frustrated at the slow pace of change.

He added: “Healthcare operates in big systems and this can slow down the delivery of services to our patients. BSO is addressing pace of work on issues like social care procurement that are in high demand, by setting up work programme frameworks so that it can progress in a structured way.”

Mr Waide leads BSO’s Transformation Programme, managing procurement and logistics services across Northern Ireland’s health sector, exceeding annualised expenditure of £600 million. He explained some of the ways BSO continually improves its practices.

He said: “At BSO we continually develop our staff, as well as attracting new talent. This brings a different perspective to our work.

“We are also engaging with clinicians in a progressive manner, to mediate between them, the customer and our procurement teams to deliver the best care.”

Looking to the future Mr Waide forecast the way in which he believed healthcare supply chains would evolve.

He commented: “I think the marketplace will become even more global. In the UK and Ireland ten years ago the procurement focus was very local; however, now we have a more international supply base. This offers alternative solutions to meet demand.”

Mr Waide also identified more scope for standardisation of goods, services and documentation.

He said: “Some of the feedback BSO gets from suppliers is that the lack of standardisation in procurement forms is confusing, so there is big room from improvement there.”

Added to this standardisation drive, Mr Waide predicted the future would bring greater focus on collaborative procurement.

He concluded: “Events like Procurex Ireland Live are good, as they allow procurement professionals to share best practice. It allows public procurement officials to see what is going on in the private and international scenes, and gives them a different perspective to tackle problems.”

For this and more insight on public sector procurement opportunities visit the Procurex Live website and find the next supply chain event in your area.

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