11 May 2009 | Martha McKenzie- Minifie
The NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency (Pasa) will cease to exist as the health service attempts to make procurement simpler and more cost-effective.
NHS Pasa - an executive agency of the Department of Health (DH) that sets up framework deals for the NHS in England - has more than 250 staff.
Peter Coates, commercial managing director in the NHS procurement, investment and commercial division, said much of its work would be devolved to Buying Solutions, NHS Supply Chain and the NHS Business Services Authority.
He said the "majority" of roles would be transferred but some job losses were unavoidable. "Because there are duplications, inevitably some staff will either be reallocated or made redundant."
It would be clearer which areas of NHS Pasa were closing later this month, he said, but it was likely back office and financial support services would be hit.
NHS Pasa staff told SM they had been instructed not to comment on the change.
In addition to the distribution of NHS Pasa's responsibilities, changes under the new DH commercial operating model will see the eight regional buying hubs transformed and extended into 10 regional commercial support units to cover England.
A National Procurement Council will be established in the next six to nine months to improve communication between vendors and health buyers. Coates said the launch will ensure the profession gets better access and plays a part in consultation on phasing, pricing and terms.
"One of the things industry complains about is lack of clarity about where they go in the organisation to get an understanding of who they can sell to. This will give greater clarity to the market."
The Procurement Capability Review of the DH, carried out by the OGC last year, criticised some aspects of the department's commercial activities for having "dysfunctional consequences".
The changes were in response to the review, Coates added, and aligned with wider cost savings targets and the push for more collaborative buying.