Tech platform enables savings for NHS trusts

NHS, procurement
“The Department of Health has been for many years asking both hospitals and its suppliers to modernise the supply chain,” says Rob Knott, former National Director of NHS Procurement at the UK Department of Health

Procurement led initiative to deliver savings of up to £1bn each year by 2020 with the help of digital platforms

[London, UK] The Shelford Group, which comprises ten leading NHS multi-specialty academic healthcare organisations, is working with a British technology firm to support Lord Carter’s aim to save the NHS £1bn per year by 2020.

The partnership is meant to transform the way NHS trusts engage with their suppliers and solve procurement issues that are affecting the NHS system.

Rob Knott, former National Director of NHS Procurement at the Department of Health, said: “The Department of Health has been for many years asking both hospitals and its suppliers to modernise the supply chain.

“For many, many years there’s been a succession of initiatives, a succession of attempts to try and revolutionise the way hospitals interact with its suppliers and the way hospitals manage the flow of data across the supply chain.”

Supporting the NHS on a digital level

Published in February this year, the Carter Review reinforced the need for transparency across the NHS system, setting out recommendations to reduce costs and improve care.

Lord Carter, chairman of the review, said: “Giving hospitals the tools and support to better manage resources will make it easier for boards to follow the example of the best trusts and mean every patient can receive the same world class care and taxpayers will also receive a fairer return on their significant investment in the NHS.”

By implementing the new digital platform, the Shelford Group is addressing one of the key recommendations made in the report, which estimated that £5bn is lost in the NHS through waste and variation of products across trusts.

“When I was working in the Department of Health, I was looking at a variety of solutions around the world for healthcare - particularly at how the US are managing their supply chain and their data, but I also looked at other industries, " said Knott, who is now Director at Virtualstock.

"When you think about the criticality of the supply chain in healthcare, really the standards should have been done many years ago as this is a global problem in healthcare; for years, hospitals have tried to transform themselves using standards that they believe have been relevant,” added Knott.

The technology firm, Virtualstock, first launched in the health sector last year by introducing The Edge platform at Guy's and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

The programme is meant to help suppliers translate their data into the NHS efficiently.

"The Shelford Group recognise the importance of adopting common systems to drive process efficiency both for our hospitals and our supply chain,” said David Lawson, Chief Procurement Officer at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.