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NHS Supply Chain Customer Board announces new structure

Tuesday 2 June 2015

NHS Supply Chain’s Customer Board chaired by Sir Ian Carruthers OBE has redefined its role and structure to help meet the financial challenges facing the NHS.

Following the appointment of Sir Ian as the independent Chair of the NHS Supply Chain Customer Board in December 2013, a review was conducted to identify how NHS Supply Chain and the NHS can optimise value for money from non-pay spend.

The review focused on the estimated £2 billion funding gap in the NHS identified in the Department of Health’s procurement strategy “Better Procurement, Better Value, Better Care” published in August 2013, and how the Customer Board can help support the drive for accelerated savings and deliver the £150 million in cash releasing savings that NHS Supply Chain has been tasked to deliver by March 2016, along with improving the purchasing of capital medical equipment.

Sir Ian met with the majority of the NHS Supply Chain Customer Board members, representatives from NHS organisations, including Chris Hopson, Chief Executive of NHS Providers and key stakeholders from the Department of Health and the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA). Sir Ian says, “I very much enjoyed engaging with the stakeholders to re-fresh the remit of NHS Supply Chain’s Customer Board and to determine how we can make a difference to generate savings for the greater good of the NHS.”

When the Customer Board met in June 2014 a proposed framework for the board was shared and agreed. This framework consists of a National Unitary Board, together with a Clinical Reference Board and four local Customer Boards. The Chair(s) of the local Customer Board and Clinical Reference Board also sit on the National Unitary Board along with John Warrington Deputy Director for Procurement Policy and Research at the Department of Health, Steven Pink Director of Change and Commercial Delivery at the NHSBSA, and Nick Gerrard Chief Executive Officer for NHS Supply Chain.

The local Customer Boards consist of representatives from the NHS Chief Executive, Non-Executive, Director of Finance, Procurement and Clinical communities. Members have been selected to ensure a broad cross-section from the NHS and will meet quarterly to review and discuss progress against agreed local priorities.

The Chair(s) of the four local Customer Boards and the Clinical Reference Board are:

  1. North: Mick Guymer, Director of NHS North West Procurement Development
  2. Midlands: David Melbourne, Chief Financial Officer and Deputy Chief Executive at Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  3. London: Bill Shields, Chief Executive, Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust
  4. Southern: Suzanne Tracey, Director of Finance at Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust
  5. Clinical Reference Board: Mandie Sunderland, Chief Nurse, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

Sir Ian continues, “By facilitating interaction with trusts through the Customer Board at a local level we will be able to help accelerate change and the delivery of the significant savings needed.”

The National Unitary Board met in November 2014 for the first time to discuss and agree the priority areas to ensure mobilisation behind the savings plans in the local regions.

The aim of the board is to work with NHS Supply Chain to improve the usage of the NHS’s national contract for the purchase and supply of consumables, medical and surgical products and medical capital equipment with a view to maximise the efficiencies and savings opportunities that are available now, through spend commitment and better collaboration with trusts, and to improve quality and patient safety. This will enable the board to support the delivery of the £150 million savings challenge for the NHS.

John Warrington, Deputy Director for Procurement Policy and Research at the Department of Health concludes, “The NHS Supply Chain Customer Board has a critical role to play in drawing together NHS demand to support the delivery of the £150m. I have asked the National Customer Board, under Sir Ian Carruthers’ leadership to provide a vision for what they would want to see in the future.”

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Notes to editors

About NHS Supply Chain

Follow us on Twitter: @NHSSupplyChain

All information in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

NHS Supply Chain is operated by DHL as Agent of the NHS Business Services Authority. It supports the National Health Service (NHS) and other healthcare organisations in England and Wales by providing end to end supply chain solutions.

The organisation was formed in 2006 from the NHS Logistics Authority and parts of the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency (NHS PASA). NHS Supply Chain aims to provide over £1 billion of savings to the NHS by 2016.

NHS Supply Chain manages the sourcing, delivery and supply of healthcare products and food for over 1,000 NHS trusts and healthcare organisations. It provides a single point of access to over 346,000 nationally available, transactable lines ranging from bandages to sutures, from gloves to implants, and even diagnostic equipment such as MRI scanners.

Its management of the procurement process negates an NHS organisation’s need to tender through the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU). Costs can also be reduced through its one-route solution that consolidates all products onto one invoice and delivery.

To ensure that its products are fit for today’s healthcare market, NHS Supply Chain works with suppliers of all sizes to ensure its range embraces high quality and innovative products; and engages with clinicians, the Department of Health and academic institutions to make sure that it is aware of the current requirements and latest developments in clinical practice.

NHS Supply Chain’s product areas include:

  • Theatres
  • Dental
  • Audiology
  • Catering, including food
  • Infection control
  • Orthopaedics
  • Rehabilitation
  • Capital equipment, including finance and maintenance.

Based in Alfreton, Derbyshire, UK, the business employs over 2,400 staff across seven sites.

Delivering value to the NHS