Hospital trust reinvesting millions in savings in frontline staff, education and patient care

26 April 2021

A hospital trust’s savings on orthopaedic trauma products through NHS Supply Chain has allowed it to reinvest in frontline staff, education and patient care.  

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust went from two major suppliers to one and is on target to save £850,000 in the first year, with a further £2.8m savings predicted over the next four years. 

The trust spent £1.6 million on orthopaedic trauma products in 2019 and wanted to find out if it was possible to drive benefits by moving to different suppliers or by rationalising their supply base through a procurement process. The trust agreed that a proportion of any savings would be invested back into the orthopaedic trauma department.  

Queens Medical Centre entrance

Staff at the trust set up a meeting with NHS Supply Chain, who reviewed their total usage data. They then converted this into set procedures, calculated the cost of the different supplier options and presented these back to the trust. The different suppliers were invited to visit the department so clinicians could trial their products.  

As a result of the savings, the orthopaedic trauma department now has two new nurse practitioners and an educational package costing £340,000. This will support their educational activities over the next four years. The trust will reinvest another future £2.3 million of savings on frontline patient care.  

Mr Dan Deakin, Head of Service for Trauma and Orthopaedics at the trust’s Queen’s Medical Centre said: “As an organisation we were oblivious to this opportunity until using NHS Supply Chain.”  

The standardised process under the NHS Supply Chain Total Orthopaedic Solutions Framework Agreement was managed and run by regional Clinical Engagement and Implementation Manager, Tanya Smith, and supported by the regional Category Manager, Tristan Langford. Both worked closely with key clinical and non-clinical stakeholders across the trust.  

Tanya said: “We were delighted to support the project and help deliver valuable savings. Any organisation interested in finding out more about how we can assist them through the process should contact us. We can facilitate supplier discussions, outline the products available and provide dedicated support throughout.”    

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About NHS Supply Chain’s role in the Covid-19 response

  • The Government has set up new PPE Dedicated Supply Channel which is a parallel supply chain to the normal NHS Supply Chain service. It has been set up by Government to meet the urgent volume requirements for core personal protective equipment (PPE) items, allowing NHS Supply Chain to focus on ensuring the supply of medical devices and clinical consumables to our NHS.
  • The Government has set up a dedicated unit to focus on securing supplies of PPE led by the government’s commercial function. This unit is identifying PPE suppliers from across the globe to meet the increasing demand for a growing list of PPE products.  NHS Supply Chain’s PPE buying teams have been seconded to the unit which is led by the government.
  • NHS Supply Chain has expanded its operations to support the stand up of seven NHS Nightingale Hospitals set up across the UK, including NHS Nightingale London, Birmingham, North West (Manchester), Yorkshire and the Humber (Harrogate), Bristol, North East (Washington) and Exeter. Equipment and consumables supplied include ventilators, patient monitors and CT scanners.

About NHS Supply Chain

NHS Supply Chain manages the sourcing, delivery and supply of healthcare products, services and food for NHS trusts and healthcare organisations across England and Wales.

Managing more than 4.5 million orders per year, across 94,000 order points and 15,000 locations, NHS Supply Chain systems consolidate orders from over 800 suppliers, saving trusts time and money and removing duplication of overlapping contracts. 

Lord Carter’s report into efficiency and productivity in the NHS, published in 2015, identified unwarranted variation in procurement across the NHS, resulting in the need to improve operational efficiencies to transform a fragmented procurement landscape. To undertake this transformation the Department of Health and Social Care established the Procurement Transformation Programme (PTP) to deliver a new NHS Supply Chain.

The new NHS Supply Chain was designed to help the NHS deliver clinically assured, quality products at the best value, through a range of specialist buying functions. Its aim is to leverage the buying power of the NHS to negotiate the best deals from suppliers and deliver savings of £2.4 billion back into NHS frontline services by the end of the financial year 2022/23.

The new model consists of eleven specialist buying functions, known as Category Towers, delivering clinical consumables, capital medical equipment and non-medical products such as food and office solutions. Two enabling services for logistics and supporting technology and transactional services which underpin the model.

Key benefits the NHS Supply Chain will bring NHS trusts and suppliers include:

NHS trusts

  • Savings channelled back to frontline services
  • Releasing more time for core clinical activities
  • Greater NHS clinical involvement in purchasing decision
  • More effective introduction of new products.

Suppliers

  • Lowering sales and marketing costs
  • Single route into the national market
  • A joined-up approach across the NHS
  • Clear route for innovative products.

On 1 April 2018, a new commercially astute management function of the new NHS Supply Chain called Supply Chain Coordination Limited (SCCL) went ‘live’. The management function is responsible in driving strong commercial capability, providing a relentless approach to creating value, gain competitive advantage, become the strategic procurement partner of choice for the NHS, manage the delivery and performance of the Category Tower Service Providers and its enabling logistics and technology services whilst overseeing continuous improvement. SCCL is a limited company, wholly owned by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, SCCL is part of the NHS family. For more information on our category service tower providers go to  https://www.supplychain.nhs.uk/categories/.

About CaPA

The Clinical and Product Assurance (CaPA) team of NHS Supply Chain is key to ensuring that all the products we supply are safe and reflect the needs and preferences of all our NHS partners.

This includes working with our NHS partners such as NHS England, NHS Improvement and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to support the introduction of new technology and innovation into the supply chain that provides demonstrable benefits for our patients and users.

The CaPA team is responsible for three key areas of expertise:

  • Assurance framework
  • Patient safety
  • Innovation