December 1 2020 – The HCSA welcomes the latest NAO report looking at ‘Supply of PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic’ that has included contributions by individual HCSA members and our National Stakeholder Group.
Addressing the grave situation faced by Trusts in the initial wave of COVID-19 in March, April and May, the work of our members in Trusts has rightly been highlighted.
Trust-based procurement staff were shown to have acted proactively as they are the accountable face for all local, regional and national efforts.
The support offered by the NHS’s approved, established and, in some cases, longstanding suppliers was essential. It is also important to acknowledge the work of partners and system providers who offered immediate support free of charge to monitor and manage PPE stock.
This was in every sense a collective response to an unprecedented challenge that saw NHS Trusts work with and support social care and the voluntary sector while HCSA Members at regional and national level played a key role in supporting Trusts.
The HCSA commends the work of the Parallel Supply Chain and the Government Commercial Function, supported by NHS procurement colleagues from across our profession, and their efforts to secure product and supply while recognising the benefit of hindsight and lessons that need to be learned.
We also support moves to rebalance the supply chain by reducing the reliance on international sources by creating a UK manufacturing base, but urge a measured and considered approach which recognises the need to balance resilience, sustainability and support of the UK economy with value for money and a selection process which is transparent, fair and open.
The HCSA hopes that the two NAO Reports published to date will enable all stakeholders to both reflect on what was achieved but also learn lessons for future benefit.
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