A Day in the Life of Sofia Santoro Kirk
What’s your name and job title?
Sofia Santoro Kirk- Clinical Procurement & Quality Assurance Specialist.
What team do you work in at NHS Supply Chain?
I joined NHS Supply Chain in September 2022 to work within NHS Supply Chain: Ward Based Consumables. However, due to demand and my experience, I am currently assisting within NHS Supply Chain: Infection Control & Wound Care on a large framework.
What does your typical working day entail?
I start off the day by greeting my colleagues where we share our weekly workload to ensure we are all working together and in line with the business needs.
Our team supports internal and external communication activities with stakeholders to ensure clinical engagement is a priority. This is achieved by working closely with Business Managers, Clinicians, Heads of Nursing and other Allied Health Professionals who have an input into the use of clinical supplies and equipment. We critically review current products, practice, policies and procedures and identify opportunities to save on cost but not compromise on quality.
We have regular meetings with the ‘clinical council’ which invites clinicians to share and give feedback about products and what is needed to allow the product to function optimally. Through these discussions it allows for the hands-on product experts to give a review and the procurement team a greater understanding of its functionality.
As a team, we are responsible for supporting clinical teams through both product change (forced and choice) and considering the day to day running of the Trust and its wider strategic circle. This is imperative to ensure the customer is at the forefront of decision making. This involves searching for potential alternative products that are available or perhaps procuring new products and innovative ideas ensuring resilience within supply chain, which in turn will improve patient outcomes and reduce the risk to patients.
Although I am no longer working on the front line and actively saving lives, the procurement process is everyone coming together to save lives and improve health.
How has the pandemic affected your work?
Throughout the pandemic I worked in my local hospital and I was a senior Head and Neck specialist. As the pandemic hit, our ward was quickly closed and the team was re-deployed to the Intensive Care Unit.
I was actively caring for COVID patients which was a challenging time of my career. This experience made me re-evaluate my career path and the direction I wanted to follow. Even though my original passion for hands on care was still there, I needed to have a more balanced work life. This is how my procurement journey started.
Please give an example of a successful project you have recently been involved in and what was the value for the customer?
A project/framework that we are currently working through will potentially allow the customer to have a wider variety of high-quality products to choose from. By ensuring the specification is of high standard through engaging with the necessary professionals via clinical engagement to gain feedback to understand how products are used in the NHS and areas we can improve. Working through the framework will also have cost savings that allows for the money to be used elsewhere within the NHS.
We are also discussing and implementing social values and how this can be included within the procurement journey and the positive impacts that this will have long term. On that note, I am also an active member of the sustainability team which involves meeting with colleagues to actively promote current sustainable ideas and working towards implementing change for the future.
What motivates you?
Working within clinical practice there is nothing more frustrating than not having the correct product available to hand to ensure that patients are receiving the care they deserve. This role allows me to take an active part in this process to ensure the products are available and the patients care is never compromised. Even though I am no longer working on the front line and actively saving lives, the procurement process is everyone coming together to save lives and improve health. it makes me feel proud and a great sense of achievement that we are alleviating any product shortage through offering a wider choice for clinicians.