A team of frontline health professionals is being assembled to identify the best clinical products for the NHS and whether they can be procured more efficiently.
The NHS clinical evaluation team will constitute a group of frontline healthcare professionals with “distinct clinical experience, skills and know how”, according to a spokesman from the NHS Business Services Authority, which is overseeing the project jointly with the Department of Health.
“The clinical evaluation team and their detailed insight into frontline patient care will be uniquely placed to evaluate the range of products effectively”
The team’s primary purpose will be is to engage with NHS workers to identify clinical products that “provide a high level patient care and best outcomes for the NHS”.
These high performing products will then be assessed from a procurement perspective to determine whether they can be purchased more efficiently, for example through block contracts.
The team’s findings will also feed into a broader project aligned with Lord Carter’s productivity review that is looking to save £300m by October 2018.
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Work is currently underway to establish the team, with interviews currently underway for its nine members, said the spokesman.
“The NHS clinical evaluation team will consist of nine experienced NHS clinicians and several support staff who will work completely independently of medical suppliers and NHS Supply Chain,” he said.
Their work will also inform the future development of national clinical specifications across various product categories. This process will be based on “extensive engagement” with NHS clinical staff including nurses and midwives, added the spokesman.
The team will report into the existing national clinical reference board, which is made up of around a dozen senior nurses, from 1 April 2016.
Mandie Sunderland, chair of the board and chief nurse at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, welcomed the creation of the team, which will be recruited from across the NHS.
“It’s important that we use our clinical experience to deliver high standards of care in ways which also reduce cost and waste in the NHS,” said Ms Sunderland, who has been at the forefront of efforts to make savings through better procurement, as previously reported by Nursing Times.
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She added: “The financial strain on the NHS is considerable, and I am confident that the clinical evaluation team and their detailed insight into frontline patient care will be uniquely placed to evaluate the range of products effectively. I believe the team’s work will have a huge impact”.