Clinically-led changes result in savings of more than £450,000 annually for NHS trust

NHS Supply Chain has worked in partnership with a hospital trust to help them save more than £450,000 annually after a change of supplier for hip and knee products for orthopaedic surgery.

City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust and South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust who merged in 2019 decided to undertake the orthopaedic project together with support from NHS Supply Chain category manager and clinical engagement and implementation manager.

This enabled them to move to one orthopaedic provider for their hips and knees as soon as they had merged to achieve the best value for the products across both sites. Orthopaedic clinicians led the decision on the new hip and knee providers.

As a result, South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust saved £458,060 against a previous annual spend of £1,509,396 – a saving of 30 percent.

They achieved the savings by going from seven different suppliers to one and rationalising the product range for surgeons.

A trust spokesman said: “We worked closely with NHS Supply Chain and the suppliers on this orthopaedic project, to evaluate and rationalise the product range. Their expertise relating to the pricing exercise enabled the timescales to be reduced and the savings were realised earlier than anticipated.”

Emmi Mitrunen, a Category Manager specialising in orthopaedics at NHS Supply Chain, said: “It was very important that the product alternatives were clinically acceptable across both hospital sites. We offered access to a breadth of products and the ability to continue close working relationships with suppliers whilst remaining compliant.”

The trust was supported through the project by Emmi and Ben Harrington, a Clinical Engagement and Implementation Manager who has specialist knowledge of orthopaedic products and a background in orthopaedics theatres.

“We supported the orthopaedic project by working with the clinical teams to understand which suppliers they would be willing to consider as alternatives to their current hip and knee providers,” said Emmi.

The clinicians agreed to look at five different suppliers, who were all invited to present their products at a supplier day. As a result, two suppliers were identified as being able to supply a full range of hips and knees across both sites. Each supplier’s products were trialled at both sites, with one supplier taking part at a time. This enabled all clinicians to participate in the trials.

NHS Supply Chain was able to deliver products, expertise and pricing available under the Total Orthopaedic Solutions framework.

The standardised compliant process was managed from beginning to end by NHS Supply Chain on behalf of the trust, including providing product analysis, organising meetings and supplier days, providing contract documentation and ensuring everyone involved was kept up-to-date with developments.


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