NHS hires buyers to treat efficiency ills

17 February 2012

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19 February 2012 | Angeline Albert

The NHS is driving demand for temporary procurement staff to help deliver savings to health trusts, the latest trends survey from a recruitment firm reports.

Tasked with finding £15 billion to £20 billion of annual efficiency savings by 2015, the NHS is turning to recruiters to find the purchasing candidates they need, according to Badenoch & Clark’s Talent Spotlight report for January, published this week.

Tracey Sherring, the company’s NHS associate director, said: “NHS trusts are seeking additional procurement support to aid ambitious cost improvement programmes. Interim professionals with relevant experience are being used to help deliver these savings.”

Duncan Ward, operations director of procurement and supply chain, said there is a high demand in general for skilled purchasing professionals in both the public and private sector.

In the private sector, procurement candidates with global experience are in demand. “Many smaller companies are realising the importance of bringing in strong procurement professionals with global experience, creating high levels of demand for suitably skilled candidates,” the report said.

It added that market leaders are looking to set up centralised procurement hubs on a regional level, such as across Europe or EMEA, and relocate staff there, rather than recruit staff to buy for a specific country. Joe Peyton, the recruitment firms’ principal consultant specialising in private sector procurement, said: “Procurement is becoming more of an international job right from the junior level.”

Companies are also concentrating on reducing their supply base, preferring to build strong relationships with a few core suppliers.     

On the trend of NHS hires, Pat Law, director at Hays Procurement, said: “Increased demand for procurement interims in the NHS is due to various transformation projects within acute and foundation trusts – increased collaboration and mergers of procurement and other back office functions and also an agenda for change within PCTs creating the need for procurement and contracts support.”

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