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Partnership Between Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust Delivers £80,000 Savings

20 December 2022

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust partnered together to review their suppliers of spinal surgery metalwork, and saved £80,000, without losing any quality in the products or patient care.

The partnership between Sheffield Teaching Hospital’s spine department and NHS Supply Chain was established in 2018 when the contract for the procurement of spinal implants at the trust was due to end, Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust followed in October 2020.

An additional challenge during this period was that one of the existing suppliers discontinued several of its products, which meant that a surgical technique in the treatment of scoliosis needed to be changed at the Children’s Hospital. The Trust wanted to ensure that any new supplier would be able to maintain the best possible outcome for children suffering from curvature of the spine.

With many spinal consultants working across both sites, the Trusts identified an opportunity to align and innovate their services in collaboration.

A project team was set up which included procurement leads, spinal and neurosurgeons, theatre nurses, decontamination services, theatre list planners and logistics staff from both Trusts. The team worked with NHS Supply Chain to identify potential suppliers and a tabletop exercise was conducted to test and evaluate the efficacy and suitability of the products, ensuring that the new supplier contracts provided better pricing, whilst still maintaining the highest standards of care for patients.

Now fully embedded at both Trusts, the new suppliers have delivered £80,000 of savings. The additional benefit of the contract was a resolution to the procedural change to scoliosis surgery which ensured the best surgical outcomes for NHS patients.

NHS Supply Chain spent time to understand our data and break it down into procedural costs which made any benchmarking exercise more meaningful at a clinical level.

They also took time to understand how our service worked and how any procurement exercise could add value or develop our service. Utilising engagement managers from a clinical background was also very helpful as there was a basic shared language that made the project accessible by clinicians not familiar with procurement processes.

Michael Athanassacopoulos, Consultant Spinal Surgeon