24 November 2008
The procurement team at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Trust claim to have saved around 100,000 nurse hours by consolidating spend on supplies for operating theatres with one vendor.
The Trust has brought together about £10 million spend on equipment for operating theatres with a single supplier, Squadron Medical, which has enabled them to cut the time hospital staff spend counting, moving and re-ordering stock.
Instead the supplier now provides daily deliveries of items to theatres, which has also cut down on stock to be stored.
"The NHS has a lot of overstocking. If we manage this more effectively, we drive out waste, releasing clinical time," said David Lawson, head of procurement at the Trust.
He added it had been a challenge for the team because the initial data on spend was fragmented, with a many small suppliers often dealt with on an individual or ad hoc basis. Changing the practices of staff was difficult, but now the team are aiming to replicate the scheme's success across the rest of the Trust's hospitals.
Stock cabinets that automatically order medicines when they are used up have been launched by the Trust this week.