Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust is a large teaching trust employing over 6000 staff and treating in the region of 400,000 patients per year. The Trust provides a comprehensive range of services to the 230,000 population of Salford as well as a wider range of services across Greater Manchester, the North West and nationally.
On April 1st 2011, it integrated with the community arm of NHS Salford to form a larger organisation providing acute and community services across Salford.
Meeting the eProcurement Challenge
Prior to implementing the Integra eSeries eProcurement system, Salford Royal had a core group of staff in the purchasing and supplies department who received paper requests from other staff around the hospital, which were entered manually as a purchase order.
Some departments that carried out a lot of ordering, such as theatres and pathology, were also given access to the core system to allow them to enter requisitions directly. Diane Morrison, Assistant Director of Finance at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, explains why they needed to change, “Our Trust has developed a programme designed to safely reduce costs without impacting front-line services and patient care. We quickly identified the potential cost savings we could achieve through greater automation, in terms of streamlining processes, removing duplication of effort and generally improving the accuracy and efficiency of our procurement requirement.” Morrison continues, “The manual process of procurement within the hospital was slow and cumbersome. At times approvals were inconsistent and difficult to manage and it took a bit longer than we hoped to deal with urgent queries. This added extra administration layers that we really wanted to remove.”
The Trust is a member of the NHS Shared Business Service Commercial Procurement Solutions (CPS) which enables NHS organisations to benefit from being part of a larger purchasing consortium. The service requires visibility into purchasing at each Trust so it can establish what is being purchased on a routine basis and provide realtime intelligence to help ensure consistent supply. It also links the purchasing requirements of each Trust so that a procurement strategy can be developed to deliver lower purchasing costs and best value across the entire region.
Shared Purchasing Strength
Morrison adds, “The shared service is extremely valuable to us and we wanted to be able to maximise the potential benefit by ensuring a seamless integration of up to date, complete information between our systems.” Both the CPS and Salford Royal use the Global Health Exchange (GHX), a trading exchange which allows hospitals to purchase both medical and non-medical products.
GHX has built an electronic trading exchange where suppliers and providers use a single connection to do business with multiple trading partners. It manages all the trading partner relationships, keeping catalogues up to date and ensuring best prices and supply. A key requirement for a new eProcurement system was to be able to seamlessly update internal systems with information from the GHX catalogues.
“Standardisation and safely reducing costs are our core objective and Capita IB Solutions showed that its Integra eProcurement and Catalogue Expert system would provide us with just that,” says Morrison, adding, “Our products sit on the web-based GHX catalogue system and ICE can download all the information directly so that we can work on the most up to date and accurate purchasing information possible. This integration between GHX and our internal systems also provides the CPS with all the realtime information it needs to deliver an effective service.”
Selection and Implementation
Capita IB Solutions’ continuing developments in the Integra product suite have met with approval from Salford Royal. “Moving to a web based procurement solution has made roll out to both management and requisitioners much more straight forward. The system itself is very easy to use and we are able to select the modules that we want to use and which will deliver the most benefit,” adds Morrison.
Integra eSeries and ICE were implemented during 2010 and by the end of the year paper was virtually eradicated from the purchasing function. With the integration of community services in April, the purchasing team has moved quickly to integrate this large new organisation onto the same eProcurement system and this will be fully up and running very soon.
“We decided to carry out training face to face with our key users. This has paid dividends because people are using the system properly and getting the most out of it. They are also able to train new people more quickly and require less support from the purchasing team. Feedback from the users has been very good, particularly around the system’s reliability and ease of use,” Morrison says.
Salford Royal is enjoying a number of important benefits from the system. “Eradicating paper from the purchasing process has improved our efficiency. Electronic purchasing has made the process much quicker for the end user and has resulted in much more effective and efficient operations. The system has also given us improved standardisation in terms of the products we purchase. Every time an order is placed for a particular product, it is from the same place so it has a consistent description,” says Morrison.
She adds, “The increased efficiency has allowed us to reduce the amount of administration we need to run the procurement system, which has allowed us to safely reduce costs. The system also provides seamless integration with NHS SBS CPS through GHX, which gives them better visibility of our demand.”
In terms of day to day operations, the Integra eProcurement solution has enabled much greater visibility and control throughout the process.“We can now deliver reports based on accurate and up to date information, which has helped us to make better and more informed decisions on the running of the department. The time taken from order to receipt has also reduced significantly and if there are any issues anywhere in the supply chain, these can be identified and resolved much more quickly and easily than before,” she adds.
Diane Morrison concludes, “We had the challenge of implementing an eProcurement system that would streamline the process and ensure faster and more accurate supply. Thanks to the Integra eProcurement and ICE systems, we have been able to achieve this quickly and effectively. The support from Capita IB Solutions has ensured the project has been successful and we are now enjoying an integrated purchasing system enabling us to safely reduce our costs.”