Skip to main content

Orthopaedic Project Delivers 30% Saving Across South Tyneside and Sunderland Hospitals

10 December 2020


South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust formed in April 2019. The trust provides services for around 430,000 people. It runs several community hospitals and the South Tyneside District Hospital and Sunderland Royal Hospital. Both hospitals run orthopaedic departments offering hip and knee replacements. The trust employs around 8,000 staff to provide its services.

South Tyneside District Hospital is a 450 bed hospital in South Shields. It provides a range of district hospital services for people in the towns of South Shields, Jarrow, Hebburn, Boldon, Cleadon and Whitburn. Following the merger of the hospital trusts some services have been consolidated onto the Sunderland Royal Hospital site. However, both sites continue to provide orthopaedics. Sunderland Royal Hospital is a 970 bed hospital operating on one site.

The Challenge

The challenge for South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust

As the two trusts were due to merge in 2019, they decided to undertake this orthopaedic project together. This enabled them to move to one provider from the beginning to achieve the best value across both sites. Clinicians led the decision on the new hip and knee providers.

What was the problem?

  • The trust spends £1.5 million on hips and knees, annually.
  • The trust wanted to make sustainable cash savings whilst continuing to use products that surgeons would be happy to use.

What were the objectives?

  • To make savings by switching to one provider.
  • To use products that are clinically acceptable across both hospital sites.

The Solution

NHS Supply Chain offered the trust access to a breadth of clinically acceptable products and the ability to continue close working relationships with suppliers whilst remaining compliant.

Following on from previous orthopaedic projects completed with the two trusts under the MSK framework, NHS Supply Chain was able to deliver products, expertise and pricing available under the Total Orthopaedic Solutions framework.

The Process Undertaken

The NHS Supply Chain provided analysis and guidance to ensure all the correct steps were followed for a result that was compliant, cost-effective and clinically led.

We supported the orthopaedic project by working with the clinical teams to understand which suppliers they would be willing to consider as alternatives to their current hip and knee providers. The clinicians agreed to look at five different suppliers, who were all invited to present their products at a supplier day. As a result, two suppliers were identified as being able to supply a full range of hips and knees across both sites. Each supplier’s products were trialled at both sites between September and February, with one supplier taking part at a time. This enabled all clinicians to participate in the trials.

The Result

The trust saved £458,060, against a previous annual spend of £1,509,396. This was a saving of 30%.

By going from seven different suppliers to one, the new trust also rationalised the range for surgeons.

We have worked closely with NHS Supply Chain and the suppliers on this orthopaedic project, to evaluate and rationalise the product range, resulting in a £458,060.80 saving. Using NHS Supply Chain’s expertise  relating to the pricing exercise enabled the timescales to be reduced. The savings were realised earlier than anticipated.Elliott Briggs, Senior Contracts and Procurement Officer
South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust

What Can You Do Now?

Early engagement helps to facilitate savings

  • The trust recommends that others encourage early involvement of their clinicians and takes price out of the equation until the available products have been evaluated and clinically accepted.

If you’d like to understand how we can support your trust to deliver savings in this area, please speak to your NHS Supply Chain Hospital Care Team. See our Useful Links section for further information.