News from our Partners: Hospital E-Procurement Manager named Professional of the Year

Wednesday 17th July 2019

News from our Partners: Hospital E-Procurement Manager named Professional of the Year

Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals’ (DBTH) E-Procurement Manager, Sonia Simpson, has been named ‘Professional of the Year’ by the NHS Skills Development Network (Yorkshire and Humber).  

An incredibly important function within in any NHS trust, hospital procurement departments are responsible for managing purchasing activity. This means negotiating pricing for essential items and planning what the organisation will need in the future in order to continue to deliver high quality care, as efficiently as possible and making the most of every penny spent.

In her role as E-Procurement Manager, Sonia has overseen the implementation of a number of challenging projects, which has allowed the Trust to streamline and transform the way it purchases essential supplies. As a leader within the team, the procurement specialist has worked closely with colleagues across the organisation as well as the region, ensuring the Trust is able to deliver the best deal possible for the NHS.

A key piece of work led by Sonia has been the launch and maintenance of a brand new digital purchasing system across the Trust. Known as Oracle, since the introduction of this service, colleagues have been able to make the process of purchasing goods and supplies much more efficient, with a yearly average of over 6,500 paper order forms (known as requisitions) eliminated since go-live. Automating much of the process, this new system also gives clear oversight for managers, who are able to track and query every penny spent within the Trust, using a simple online dashboard.

Alongside her team and the finance department, Sonia has also worked hard to control costs within DBTH, curbing any excessive ordering of stock by implementing better inventory management and understanding of what is needed by staff and patients, ensuring that colleagues have the right products, at the right time in order to provide high quality care and treatment. In delivering this service improvement, the Procurement Team have introduced elements of automation which has helped the Trust to reduce the number of cancelled patient procedures, as well as enhancing the ability to track products in the event of a recall by their manufacturer, substantially increasing patient safety.

Richard Somerset, Acting Head of Procurement at the Trust, said: “Sonia is a model professional and a fantastic leader. Throughout the last financial year, she has empowered and supported her team to make essential changes, ultimately helping us to improve patient care, treatment and safety, while making the most of every penny spent. Sonia is a passionate, dedicated and skilled E-Procurement Manager and this award is well-deserved.”

One of the NHS’ highest performing procurement departments, DBTH’s team is consistently amongst the first to adopt nationally-mandated best financial practice within the health service. Examples such as involvement in NHS England and NHS Supply Chain’s ‘High Cost Tariff Excluded Devices Programme’, which is estimated to save up to £100 million for hospitals nationwide, as well as working closely with hospitals across the country to deliver the first ‘Nationally Contracted Products’, an initiative which explores demand for certain items and purchases them on behalf of the entire NHS, representing substantial savings for trusts.

Evidencing this hard work, the department was also named ‘Team of the Year’ by NHS Skills Development Network (Yorkshire and Humber).

Jon Sargeant, Director of Finance at the Trust, said: “Sonia is an extremely capable leader, and alongside her procurement colleagues, I am delighted that she has received this award. The Trust’s Procurement Team are leading the way in their particular field and to be recognised by their peers is proof of this hard work, skill and dedication.

“Since 2015, we have been working hard to improve the Trust’s financial position, delivering over £20 million in savings during this time and finishing 2018/19 with a small surplus, the first positive position for almost four years. At the same time as making these substantial savings, patient care, treatment and experience indicators have all improved – a fantastic achievement which is shared with every member of Team DBTH.”

The NHS Skills Development Network (Yorkshire and Humber) Awards took place on 16 May at the Hilton Hotel in Leeds.

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