We’ve heard the word, “journey” applied to a dozen management and supplier presentations and to the changes proposed and required in NHS Procurement. To get FCIPS I really have been on a journey: I’ve taken the trains, boats and planes approach, or should that be pensions, pallets, and procurement?…….
Leaving school at 16, armed with five O-Levels my working life started as a Counter Clerk with the Post Office, eight glorious years of paying giros and pensions across Merseyside ended with a transfer to the stores… at the time I thought this was the end of my career, surrounded by stamp books, coin bags and the obligatory toilet rolls in the basement of the main sorting office in Liverpool, but unlike most jobs in the Post Office the job was aligned to ..roles that could be followed in other areas. I decided try and make the best of it and to enrol for the CIPS Graduate Diploma Course. After four years and a number of changes in job logistics roles I had passed my professional exams and in a moment of madness decided to do a Masters course in Management Studies.
Due to various reorganisations I found myself moving from a Logistics role in to Procurement and Contracts in 2000. I decided to join the CIPS Merseyside Branch Committee as a way of promoting procurement and supporting both students and my fellow professionals. During my time with the branch I took on a number of roles culminating in Vice Chair and then three enjoyable years as Chair.
In 2004, after 23 years in the Post Office and The Royal Mail, I joined the NHS as Head of Procurement and Logistics at The Walton Centre and was advised very quickly by a Neurosurgeon that the NHS was not like Tescos… wise words… although it could be said there are nuts and good eggs in both! Establishing a small team it was a great introduction to the NHS and I worked with some great people, it also gave me the opportunity to become a Taskforce trainer.
Moving on to Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh, with the support of the CEO, Finance Director(s), Medical staff and the Procurement department we (literally) knocked down walls to create a strategic procurement team that is delivering excellent returns for the Trust and has helped to develop a number of aspiring NHS Procurement leaders of the future.
And now on to my current position as Assistant Director with NHS North West Procurement Development and my Fellowship award… My role is focussed on creating strategic opportunities to assist Trusts to build on the collective capacity and capability which exists in the region and to deliver savings, efficiencies and organisational development which involves multiple stakeholder groups. I intend to use my links with the Institute to continue to promote how vital the profession is to the NHS and the value the procurement can bring. I’m also keen to promote procurement at a grass roots level; to provide an alternative vehicle to being employed in the profession, other than through studying for a degree, which is now the norm and is rapidly becoming out of the reach of ordinary working class families. I view the support and introduction of a robust apprenticeship scheme as a potentially valuable way to achieve this.
If like me you and are passionate about procurement why not have a look at CIPS Fellowship, help me and my fellow-fellows in the NHS raise the profile of procurement and inspire the next generation of professionals!