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Working Together Programme set to realise £400,000 annual savings1 from an eAuction on exam gloves

Working Together set to realise £400,000 annual savings from an eAuction on exam gloves

The independent Clinical Reference Group (CRG) for the Programme was fundamental in obtaining a regional consensus on the most feasible product categories for standardisation.

Wednesday 29 October 2014

"This was a ground breaking procurement exercise for the NHS and credit is due to the Medical Directors, procurement leads and project management team whose robust and unified approach has resulted in significant savings for the NHS”.

Sir Andrew Cash
Chief Executive Sponsor for the Procurement Project
Working Together Programme

Working Together Programme

The Working Together Programme is a unique partnership between seven acute Trusts in South Yorkshire, Mid Yorkshire and North Derbyshire. Its aim is to work together and strengthen each organisation by sharing collective expertise and knowledge.

The Programme’s workstreams span quality, safety, efficiency and sustainability of services and are all focused round the core principle of “what can the seven organisations do together that they cannot do alone”.

Approach to procurement

The first challenge on procurement for the Programme was to ensure the governance process was able to stand up to any product selected and ultimately obtain regional consensus.

The independent Clinical Reference Group (CRG) for the Programme was fundamental in obtaining a regional consensus on the most feasible product categories for standardisation and the process for evaluating and implementing efficiencies.

Through the CRG, a workshop was run for clinicians, non-clinicians, nurses, procurement representatives and Medical Director representatives to outline a way forward and agree specific outputs.

Exam gloves initiative

With consolidated spend for exam gloves being £2.1m across eight suppliers and firm agreement from each Trust to adopt one awarded product, there were good conditions to create strong competition.

Effective engagement with the eight suppliers was critical to achieving the best result for the seven Trusts which is why they were engaged from the early stages.

Figure 1: Working Together Programme standardised from eight exam gloves suppliers down to one.

Working together gloves fig. 1

The non-contentious nature of the product combined with a highly competitive market meant that a mini competition2 process incorporating an eAuction was used, taking three months from start to finish.

Using NHS Supply Chain to facilitate and manage this process gave the Trusts access to resource that was readily available and experienced in managing mini competitions2 and eAuctions.

This not only helped free up Trust procurement teams but gave them access to infrastructure like the NHS Supply Chain eAuction facility.

"This has been a great success as a clinical procurement process and many factors came together to facilitate this.

"Clinical staff were involved in potential product selection, there was unified agreement at senior medical level of the governance process and there were agreed mechanisms in place to explore the potential sensitive or contentious nature of a product switch and hence the need or not for consultation or product trial.”

Des Breen
Medical Director
Working Together Programme

Find out more

Download the full case study to find out more about the process including product specification development and evaluation, transition to the new product, compliance and learnings from the initiative.

1. Projected annual savings figure based on an average price reduction for the seven Working Together Programme Trusts of 24%, calculated based on the band 1 price of the primary product (i.e. the products currently used by Trusts) minus the band 1 price of the awarded product multiplied by the last 12 months actual quantity purchased. Prices and quantities are correct at the time of printing.
2. A mini competition is a process you need to carry out to place a call-off contract under a framework agreement where the best value supplier has not been specified. It allows you to further refine your requirement whilst retaining the benefits offered under the collaborative agreement. Source:

Download the case study

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