Trust among top procurement performers

Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has been named by the Health Secretary as among the best NHS performers for negotiating prices for healthcare supplies which offer the best value for money.

The Trust has saved over £2 million in the last two years by improving the way it buys goods and services – known as procurement.

Instead of using the traditional NHS supply chain route, it works closely with Bunzl Healthcare to source most of the clinical and general goods it needs every day. The Trust negotiates directly with suppliers and Bunzl to make sure it is getting the best prices and overall value for money.

As most purchasing decisions happen at trust level, individual hospital trusts aren’t able to leverage the massive scale of the NHS and negotiate the best deals on price and quality, but Bradford Hospitals has managed to make savings by working closely with Bunzl, a healthcare distribution group.

Immensely grateful

Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, told the NHS Providers conference last week that he was immensely grateful for Bradford Hospitals and other Trusts’ efforts to clamp-down on unnecessary waste.

“We want to support the NHS to save money wherever possible so it can be reinvested into frontline services, making sure taxpayers get the best value from the Government’s investment in the NHS,” he said.

A report on variation in the NHS by Lord Carter published two years ago challenged the NHS to save £700 million through better procurement. It found that while £30 billion a year is spent by the NHS on suppliers, prices paid by different hospitals to suppliers can vary greatly.

Bradford Hospitals has recently received Peer Review Level 1 – a key item in Lord Carter’s recommendations.

Good procurement practices

The Peer Review, developed by the Department of Health, was set up to ensure good procurement practices are developed and maintained across NHS organisations. Having achieved the Level 1 accreditation for the performance of the procurement and supply chain teams the Trust is working towards Level 2.

The independent review panel praised Bradford Hospitals’ procurement service for being ‘well organised and structured’ and providing a good service to the Trust.

Matthew Horner, Director of Finance at the Trust, said: “By helping the Trust to understand its relationship with suppliers, we have made some significant savings and these have been achieved across all areas of our expenditure.

“Collaborative working between clinical and non-clinical teams, and the hard work and dedication of our procurement team, has made this possible and helped make sure every penny possible is spent on front-line patient care.”