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30 October 2012 | Anna Reynolds
Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust has saved £1.78 million by becoming the first trust to implement a system tracking all its hospital supplies.
Better inventory management led to a £75,000 reduction in waste, while a £31,000 saving resulted from the use of less space to hold stock. More than £100,000 came from freeing up the time of clinical staff and a further £400,000 came from consignment management. More efficient recording of data resulted in cash savings, as did improved stock visibility and better ordering processes. Cost-savings were also made through better buying deals using the system.
Alan Hoskins, director of procurement and commercial services at the trust’s procurement team Solent Supplies, told SM: “This is a complete transformational change and a massive step up from traditional product management used in the NHS.
“Portsmouth has changed the way it buys, who it buys from and how it uses its supplies efficiently. We are the first trust to use this system and it is key to putting Portsmouth in the lead for this area in the Department of Health's (DH) initiative, ‘Raising our Game'.”
The inventory management solution, provided by Smart Use, has been trialled since 2010 across the hospital’s 27 operating theatres. It records transactions of items such as bandages, syringes and surgical gloves, through an automated process. Previously, staff were responsible for ordering their own supplies manually. They were often unaware of stock levels and the location of stored products. The new management system has recently been adopted by the cardiology department at Portsmouth and is expected to be rolled out across the entire trust.
Procurement was fully transferred in 2010 to Solent Supplies, an NHS regional buying hub with 32 staff responsible for all non-pay spend.
Raising our Game sets out proposed actions for NHS trusts and the DH, focusing on taking immediate action to start tackling six key areas for improvements, including transparency and data management; standards of procurement; collaboration and use of procurement partners; and suppliers, innovation and growth. In December, the DH will release the outcome of its consultation on these proposals, which will result in the future strategy for effective procurement in the NHS.