25 April 2002 | David Arminas
Procurement professionals in the National Health Service will have to cope with increased demands from clinicians as they get to grips with bigger purchasing budgets.
Gordon Brown, chancellor of the exchequer, promised to raise NHS spending from just over £65 billion this year to more than £105 billion by 2007-08, a rise of 43 per cent in real terms and the biggest increase in public spending for nearly 30 years.
David Forsyth, chief executive of West Sussex Shared Services Consortium, a public-sector organisation that serves primary care trusts in the county, said the extra money will see purchasers under pressure from clinicians who believe that more can be done faster because more money is available.
"Buyers will have to balance the needs of public-sector procurement regulations, including timescales, with the understandable expectation of clinicians to see equipment in place immediately," said Forsyth, who was head of procurement at Royal Berkshire and Battle NHS Hospitals Trust until last month.
Roy Ayliffe, director of professional practice at CIPS, agreed that purchasers' relationships with clinicians will become more important.
"Clinicians could help procurement efficiencies by setting up national contracts for more medical items such as hip replacement parts, which have traditionally been bespoke at NHS trusts," he said.