NHS Supply Chain – August Update

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As the NHS continues to stand up elective services NHS Supply Chain’s focus remains on supporting our customers to ensure that they have sufficient supplies of other critical medical devices and clinical consumable products (not PPE as these items are procured and distributed through a separate channel).

Since April 2020 the Regional Customer Boards have been meeting via video conference once a month, this has allowed engagement with a large group of HoPs and DoFs up and down the country to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the NHS due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. A number of key themes have been discussed, actions taken and escalated. These include; stock visibility, parallel supply chains, communications and process, and more latterly a return to business as usual and the development of NHS Supply Chain’s corporate strategy.

Close working with our suppliers continues to ensure that our supply chain is as resilient as it can be given the current global market conditions.

A few updates to share include:

  1. Renal Replacement Therapies Services, Technologies and Consumables Framework

On 1 September this new framework developed by NHS Supply Chain: Diagnostic, Pathology & Therapy Technologies and Services (Tower 8) is being launched.

Renal replacement therapies are used within secondary care and within patient homes to support renal function through dialysis or continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT).

The framework includes chronic dialysis equipment, supplies and services, as well as equipment and supplies for acute renal care and is divided into five lots covering the following areas: 1) Dialysis Consumables and Equipment, 2) Home Haemodialysis Service, 3) CRRT and Plasma Therapies Consumables and Equipment, 4) Peritoneal Dialysis Service and 5) Managed Service – allows trusts to outsource provision of their haemodialysis centres and satellite units.

These products are used by nephrology/renal clinicians and nurses, ICU staff (particularly renal intensivists and nurses), pharmacists and home patients.

There are 22 suppliers in total on this framework, of which:

  • Seven suppliers are new to NHS Supply Chain
  • Six suppliers are new to the framework
  • Nine suppliers are incumbent.

This framework offers choice as there is an enhanced range of products more savings and added value through purchasing via NHS Supply Chain.

For further information: https://www.supplychain.nhs.uk/product-information/contract-launch-brief/renal-replacement-therapy-equipment-and-consumables/

  1. Update on Value Based Procurement Project

The Value Based Procurement (VBP) project started in May 2019 when we engaged with 20 suppliers and a subject matter expert. This group submitted 27 proposals and 13 were taken forward as pilot projects. The pilots were monitored to review progress on scoping requirements for the transition of VBP methods to business as usual.

Over the last few months due to supporting the government led initiatives through the COVID-19 pandemic the VBP project has not moved forward at the planned pace.  However, a VBP report is in production which will provide a detailed analysis of the pilot project work and will look at how we can move forward with implementing VBP.

In the meantime, we want to share some benefits and learnings from the project:

  • Awareness for change: Engagement with a wide range of stakeholders across the NHS took place to look at alternative procurement strategies and a VBP community of ‘practice groups’ was established comprising NHS clinical, finance and procurement stakeholders as well as representatives from other NHS bodies. The aim of the groups is to share best practices and shape NHS Supply Chain’s VBP activity. These forms of engagement have helped to initiate, facilitate and develop enthusiasm for VBP and show how it aligns to current NHS conversations for procurement change.
  • Recognition of benefits: Intuitively VBP ‘makes sense’ as it improves patient outcomes and increases productivity at a lower cost. The challenge is the conversion of these goals into tangible and measurable benefits that can be recognised by the NHS finance community. We are working closely with our pilot site finance colleagues to establish how this can be developed into a framework that articulates the options VBP offers.
  • Operational productivity: The project has highlighted that VBP with its focus on pathway efficiency and whole life costing, offers ‘choice’ to the NHS as to how they utilise the increased productivity. In some cases, options which they may not otherwise have had.
  • Avoids complexity: To ensure clarity as to where and how the improvements have been made by the intervention of the supplier, it is essential to avoid complexity. For instance, when a supplier submits a proposal it should clearly articulate how the new solution differs from current practice and how to measure the benefits delivered. This will greatly assist the industry and NHS stakeholders when implementing the solution.
  • Improved supplier relationships: Feedback from suppliers and trade associations shows that the project is promoting and building partnership relationships between NHS Supply Chain, NHS trusts and suppliers. All with a common goal of exploring and learning how VBP can deliver benefits to the NHS.

In Autumn 2020, the VBP project aims to share the report of its pilot project findings. We are assessing the impact each solution has in delivering tangible and measurable results.

To find out more: https://www.supplychain.nhs.uk/news-article/value-based-procurement/?utm_source=an-in-depth-look-into-our-value-based-procurement-project&utm_medium=Web&utm_campaign=Search

  1. Sutures case-study with Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

NHS Supply Chain has published a case study showing how we worked closely with Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to deliver sustainable cash savings on suture and wound closure products. Procurement and clinical teams collaborated to identify opportunities and evaluated these products across all clinical specialities. The project has ensured that quality, clinically approved suture products continue to be delivered, whilst also allowing a 20% saving in costs for Barnsley NHS Trust.

In the last financial year, savings of more than £20,000 have been made, with the project expecting to deliver a saving of £30,000 against a previous annual spend of £158,000 in the coming financial years.

Mr Khaled Farag – Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Lead of the cancer service and laparoscopic surgery, Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“Working with NHS Supply Chain helped facilitate implementation of a new supplier, in a complex market, that is often controversial. The partnership working of the trust, NHS Supply Chain and the supplier has ensured a smooth and compliant transition to high quality, clinically acceptable products that have delivered cash-releasing savings. Without all parties working together the project would have been much harder to facilitate.”

For further information: https://www.supplychain.nhs.uk/news-article/suture-project-delivers-20-saving/