A healthcare data analytics expert has cast light on how procurement and supply chain jobs are changing in the immediate and long-term in the NHS, following the introduction of eleven new NHS Procurement Category Towers.

While many public sector procurement professionals consider the forthcoming Local Government Procurement Expo (LGPE), procurement data supplier, Oli Hudson, explains that the benefits of the category towers will take time to develop as they rest on fostering awareness of the wider NHS system costs needed for a comprehensive value-based procurement strategy across a range of stakeholders and medical experts. The category towers aim to help the NHS save £2bn by 2022.

A key tool in the quest to reduce undue variation across products, categories, and suppliers is the Purchase Price Index and Benchmarking (PPIB). Launched in 2017, it gathers and analyses purchase orders throughout NHS hospitals to achieve pricing transparency. Pricing consistency will be the priority for the towers using PPIB, but spending cuts will be the long-term aim across the NHS system, including long-term outcomes. The process will require informed decisions about the value that can only result from cultivating the working relationships necessary to understanding what this consists in.

Procurement pros operating the towers, for example, are currently engaging clinicians to gain advice on the quality and benefits of products for specific therapy areas. The aim is to develop shared oversight into the long-term benefits of the products, e.g., hip replacement prostheses, or transcatheter aortic valve implantation procedures, that may reduce the financial burden of aftercare and the costs of treatment failure further down the line. This is becoming a critical consideration as the NHS moves toward integrated health and social care systems. All this will take time and relationship-building. Procurement pros may be wondering “LGPE show 2018 – what to expect?” at the moment, but their NHS counterparts are already working at a radical new procurement strategy.

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