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Maximising your Budget through Collaborative Working

Monday 8 August 2016

Since March 2012, over £61 million in incremental savings have been delivered back to the NHS through the Department of Health Capital Equipment Fund.

The National Department of Health Fund, developed by the Department of Health (DH), the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) and NHS Supply Chain, was implemented to allow NHS Supply Chain to buy Capital equipment in bulk and make the best possible use of NHS buying power. It is accessible for all NHS Supply Chain Capital frameworks and has delivered significant incremental savings back to the NHS, particularly on the Imaging and Radiotherapy frameworks where there has been increased focus due to the high cost of purchasing this equipment. Although the benefits of large scale procurement on areas such as Linear Accelerators and MRI scanners are more visible, the importance of lower value Capital equipment is also recognised. Following the mantra ‘pennies make pounds’ a specialist team of Capital Planning Coordinators sought to develop aggregation techniques for lower value equipment categories, utilising the DH Fund. From this, Multi-Trust Aggregation (MTA) was established.

MTA is a mechanism which combines the requirements for a particular device and supplier across multiple trusts and aligns procurement activity to allow customers to take advantage of volume discounts. Since the first MTA deal in November 2014, participation has grown to include 135 trusts and 18 suppliers who have supported the delivery of procurement aggregation across 21 different equipment areas. In total an incremental saving of £1,441,195 has been delivered back to the NHS.

East Kent Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is one of the 135 trusts that have benefitted from MTA. Since June 2015, the Trust has achieved £36,735 savings due to participating in 8 MTA deals across 5 equipment areas which Mr Booth believes wouldn’t have been possible without the support of NHS Supply Chain.

“I am very happy with the service provided and the proactive approach that NHS Supply Chain has adopted for the MTA and DH deals. It has helped us to achieve savings that otherwise would have alluded us.”
Adam Booth, Buyer, East Kent Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

The increasing success of Multi Trust Aggregation is largely attributed to the introduction of the Regional Collaborative Workshops. Hosted by NHS Supply Chain, these workshops include stakeholders from procurement, EBME and finance who take a visionary approach to procurement by meeting to discuss purchasing requirements and aggregation opportunities in order to generate savings back to their trust.

“The workshops have been very informative and have provided insights to equipment modalities where potential savings can be achieved by aggregating demand across the collaborative”
Andrew Hawkins, Category Manager at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust

University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust has benefitted from the workshops so much so that future opportunities are already being considered.

“To date we have been involved in 8 MTA’s, however, this has the potential to increase as we look to the wider collaborative sharing 2016/17 plans”
Andrew Hawkins, Category Manager at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust

To further develop the MTA process, an Aggregation Calendar has been produced which combines trust requirements on a larger scale in order to drive further savings. An example of this is the aggregation of neonatal and diathermy equipment where 11 trusts from 4 different regions aligned requirements and benefitted from a total incremental saving of £17,900.

NHS Supply Chain is committed to supporting the NHS to achieve savings on medical equipment purchases via MTA. Sharing requirements and working in partnership will allow the Capital Solutions team to continue to deliver and improve this initiative whilst enabling trusts to fully utilise their Capital expenditure.

For further information on MTA and the collaborative groups, please visit the ‘Strategic Planning’ section of the Capital web page or contact your Capital Planning Coordinator.

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