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A Blog from Tracey Cammish, Patient Safety and Clinical Intelligence Lead

16 August 2023

No Decision about me without me. How NHS Supply Chain’s system wide culture change, embracing patient involvement, is shaping how we procure products on behalf of the NHS.

Shared decision making in the NHS has been a key focus for over 10 years now as the benefits are routinely recognised as an important facet of planning care delivery and optimising patient care outcomes.

As part of the NHS family, NHS Supply Chain has a responsibility to be part of that cultural movement in involving patients and supporting shared decision making regarding the products that we procure for the NHS; ensuring they are of high quality, are safe, fit for purpose and meet the needs of the end users. Patients are a key end user of the products that we procure.

Care delivery is continuously evolving, and patients, certainly those with chronic long-term conditions; have a driving role in managing and maintaining their care themselves, transitioning care delivery from hospital closer to home. As the landscape of care delivery evolves the customer base of NHS Supply Chain will and is evolving. Patients therefore are and will continue to be an ever-increasing direct source of user intelligence for us.

Tracey Cammish, Patient Safety and Clinical Intelligence Lead

Reporting product user issues to NHS Supply Chain is one way in which our patient customer base can engage with us. We take identified risks and actual issues with products very seriously. Every product complaint submitted is risk assessed to determine if there is any level of patient and or end user safety impact with the purpose of appropriately responding and taking action. Our initial response in the first instance, for any patient safety related product issues is containing the product issue. Containment meaning, NHS Supply chain taking responsive action to, as much as practically possible, mitigate and prevent the same issue with the identified product impacting other patients and/or end users with a view to ongoing investigation of the product issue and resolution.

Product complaint intelligence is vital from a reaction, response and most importantly a learning perspective. Proactively, we can use this learning intelligence in designing product requirements when renewing product frameworks.

In Summary

Patients are a fundamental source of intelligence for NHS Supply Chain; patients use and are impacted by the products that we procure and are therefore in a perfect position to inform us if the products that we have procured and the service that we provide, meet their needs.  

Patients, more than anyone, know their bodies, they know their conditions and they know what works and what doesn’t.

Gaining insight and understanding into their experiences is vital to continuously improve our systems of how we procure and ensure that we are meeting the complex needs of the patients that the products we procure are there to serve.