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7 October 2013 | Gurjit Degun
A group of four NHS collaborative procurement bodies have teamed up to develop of a national nursing agency framework agreement.
NHS Commercial Solutions, NHS North of England Commercial Procurement Collaborative (NOE CPC), East of England NHS Collaborative Procurement Hub and NHS London Procurement Partnership (LLP) will develop a framework to meet the needs of all four hubs’ NHS member organisations.
Although this is a national framework, it will consist of four regional lots to allow for differing market conditions. Each lot will be open to the NHS and other public bodies in the particular region. Richard Humble, LPP’s agency workstream lead, is heading the team developing the framework, which is due to be ready by May 2014.
NHS Commercial Solutions chief executive Alyson Brett said the framework will include a transparent pricing mechanism, regular auditing of agencies providing NHS staff, and a recruitment process which is compliant with UK and EU legislation.
“Our members need a nursing agency framework which meets their needs,” she said. “Above all, trusts need to be confident that they are employing high quality agency nurses who will provide the best care for patients. This framework will do just that.”
Keith Rowley, NOE CPC managing director, added: “Taking LPP’s expertise and using it to develop a complex framework accessible to our members and the broader NHS will give the NHS value for money, avoid duplication, and support the NHS to contain its temporary staffing costs.”
The Government Procurement Service (GPS) operates a similar framework, but LPP said the majority of its members “are unlikely to adopt the new GPS agreement”.
A spokeswoman told SM: “We agreed that it was in the best interest of our NHS members to work together to provide an agency nursing framework which meets their needs. The NHS London Procurement Partnership has successfully had its own regional nursing framework for the last four years, so it made sense to build on that experience and expertise.
“We remain committed to a close working relationship with GPS, and we firmly believe it continues to make sense for all parties to work together to deliver quality and best value for the NHS. As such we continue to support the roll-out of other GPS agreements.”