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Last week Boston Hale attended England’s leading Healthcare Procurement and Supply Chain Event, P4H England. The virtual conference was a great success giving many in our sector the opportunities to collaborate and network they have sorely missed this year.


There were lots of positives to take from the Conference…


  • Celebrate your success! Those who rose to the occasion during the COVID-19 pandemic were celebrated. The healthcare sector was challenged in ways no one could have prepared for and Procurement more than played its part in supporting our frontline health workers.
  • The NHS is still Procuring! Contract Notice Volumes in August had a variance of only 2.8%. Budgets are still available and purchasing the right products and services remains a priority.
  • The NHS is still recruiting! Plans for future NHS Procurement team structures were discussed and there was a clear focus on Category Strategy, Training, and commercialisation. I am confident this will reflect new opportunities and team growth.


A look to the future…

Preeya Baillee, Director of Procurement Transformation and Commercial Delivery at NHS England and NHS Improvement, led a fascinating talk on Commercial Collaboration within the NHS. Within her presentation she discussed two key factors that will have a huge impact on NHS Procurement:



Preeya outlined her Target Operating Model for NHS Procurement discussing key objectives, potential challenges and the benefits of initiating change. Here were some of my takeaways:

  • Category Specialists: There will be a renewed pan-NHS drive to have category experts leading purchasing in their area. Teams will grow and generalists will be asked to specialise.
  • Commercialising Local Procurement: Increased funding was promised to smaller teams to support more mature Category, Contract and Supplier Management strategies.
  • Modernisation: Initiate a clear strategy to develop Digital Procurement better utilising collective buying power across Secondary Care Providers and Shared Patient Pathways.
  • Refocus on improved patient outcomes.



Sustainability was a key topic of discussion throughout the Conference with many speakers referencing it. There was a recognition that Supply Chain emissions contributed to over 2/3’s of the NHS Carbon Footprint and a consensus that more awareness of embedded, upstream emissions across both goods and services was needed. A few key strategies for action were discussed as the NHS seeks to move closer to Net Zero:

  • Reduce Waste & Increase Efficiency
  • Carbon Friendly Product substitution
  • Partnering with major Suppliers to make their Supply Chains greener


‘Healthcare is a People Business’…

Lastly, I wanted to reiterate the words of Keynote Speaker Helen Buckingham, Director of Strategy and Operations at Nuffield Trust. ‘Healthcare is a People Business’ and taking the time to make sure you have the right professionals in your team is vital. The NHS still has a listed workforce shortage of 100,000 and with Procurement’s plans for modernisation I have no doubt that number will grow. If you would like to discuss how you to get your team ready to become more Sustainable and align more closely with NHS England’s Target Operating Model, please get in touch today.

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