A group of four procurement hubs set up to develop supply chain collaboration in the NHS have agreed to work to common principles, and have opened up some frameworks to their combined membership.
The four hubs, NHS Commercial Solutions (CS), NHS North of England Commercial Procurement Collaborative (NOE CPC), East of England NHS Collaborative Procurement Hub (EOE) and NHS London Procurement Partnership (LPP) support more than 160 NHS organisations as members.
The structure of each hub is different and the formalisation of the collaboration aims to cut duplication and give NHS trusts immediate access to a wider range of OJEU compliant frameworks.
Having identified specific procurement opportunities, the hubs have now agreed a set of principles to allow them to work collaboratively while remaining independent. They will work to avoid duplication of future frameworks and share appropriate and relevant frameworks with their respective members.
LPP managing director Mario Varela said the hubs all strive to seek value for money for their members, for patients, and for the tax payer through collaborative procurement.
“In one fell swoop, our 160 plus members now have more frameworks at their disposal, with all the opportunities for cost savings and quality improvement that that brings,” he said.
The hub collaboration, called the NHS Collaborative Procurement Partnership, has so far announced two framework agreements. The first was the National Collaborative Framework for the supply of Nursing and Nursing Related Staff in May last year, and the second was last month's NHS Total Orthopaedic Solutions Framework Agreement.
A Total Cardiology Solutions Framework Agreement is currently in the pipeline and scheduled to launch in April.
Alyson Brett, NHS Commercial Solutions chief executive, said: “The first two frameworks have demonstrated that we can identify new opportunities to cut duplication and, in addition, enhance the delivery of overall financial savings through aggregation and economies of scale.”
As individual organisations, the hubs influence between £6 billion to £7.5 billion of NHS non-pay spend. The partnership’s immediate priorities for collaborative procurement are agency nursing, cardiac, orthopaedics and estates.
David John, EOE chief executive said: “As procurement organisations, competition is the life blood of what we do, but we are of the firm belief that competing between each other is wasteful and in many cases has the potential to impede the ability of the NHS to effectively manage its supply markets. It is imperative that we work together to support our members as they face the huge financial challenges which now beset the NHS."