A new team of nursing professionals has been launched to help NHS trusts assess and purchase healthcare products such as gloves and syringes.
The NHS Clinical Evaluation Team, launched by the NHS Business Services Authority, aims to give nurses a more prominent voice in the procurement process.
The team will look at product demand in combination with increased buying power to help the NHS get better value for their products.
Comprised of experienced nurses, the team will be lead by Mandie Sunderland, chief nurse at the Nottingham University Hospital NHS Trust.
Mandie Sunderland said: “Quality, safety and value are at the heart of our work and it’s important that we use our clinical experience to deliver high standards of care while also reducing cost and waste in the NHS.
“The financial strain on the NHS is considerable, and I am confident that the NHS Clinical Evaluation Team and their detailed insight into frontline patient care are uniquely placed to evaluate the range of products effectively. I believe the team’s work will have a huge impact.”
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) launched a campaign for more involvement in procurement last year, to demonstrate how involving nurses in the process could save NHS money and be safer for patients.
Small Changes, Big Differences, which was initiated in partnership with NHS Supply Chain and the Clinical Procurement Specialist Network, noted that in England the NHS spends more than £4.5 billion annually on clinical supplies and services.
Previously, in 2011, the National Audit Office found that £500 million could be saved if organisations within the NHS could purchase more efficiently.
Rose Gallagher, head of standards, knowledge and information at the RCN, said: “Nursing staff are experts in what products work and how to reduce waste – and it is time this knowledge was put to real, practical use.
“Through this new team, nursing expertise can have a real impact. Hospitals can become more efficient and more effective in delivering the highest quality patient care and reduce inefficiencies identified through procurement.”
Other team members include Naomi Chapman, Sian Fumarola, Simon Hall, Liam Horkan, Clare Johnstone, Stephanie McCarthy and David Newton.