Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust: tighter control on spending

Needing to control spending, as all trusts do, we realised the most effective way is to get a grip on supply chain operations; to understand what products are being used, where, when and on, or by, whom.

This would enable us to control and manage the flow of supplies, identify cost drivers, and ultimately help get our finances into better shape to treat more patients.

One of our key principles is to run as efficiently as possible, by making sure every penny spent delivers the best levels of care and clinical outcomes for patients.

A trust-wide review of supply chain processes, practices & systems, identified that improved inventory management was required to support our aims for a more cost effective, productive, efficient & safe environment. From this point an inventory management improvement programme was developed to review and modernise aspects of inventory management, and to implement Ingenica Solutions’ 360 IM as the Trusts choice (following tender) of IT platform for the management of stock and replenishment, and to help inform more accurate patient level costing.

We adopted best practice private sector processes and standards for managing inventory and a supply chain network, introducing these during the implementation of the solution, so completely modernising the way we think about inventory and product availability for patient care. The three-phase implementation began with a trial in the head and neck theatres, to get engagement right first.

This was followed by further implementation across all other operating theatres and day surgery, ending with Audiology and ITU/HTU by the end of June2018.

Phase 2 commences July 2018 at maternity theatre, Somerset Neonatal, Audiology, Endoscopy; ED and aligning the replenishment teams to 2 part receipting and patient level costing at service delivery level.

Finally Phase 3 will be wards and a second central stores for wards.

Our results to date have exceeded early forecasts, which is very motivating and encouraging.

The solutions has so far been implemented in 16 theatres across four locations.

As part of the implementation, hand held scanners enable clinical teams to scan products (barcodes and data matrix identifiers) and enable inventory consumption, to the patient, in real-time. Not only does this accurately provide cost to patient, but also records the required data on implantable devices which can be utilised for reporting and product safety recalls.

Our team has totally transformed processes, improved data and secured much greater control over purchasing and inventory.

Some of the most compelling benefits from the first phase of the project include more than £426,000 one off cost saving; a 88% reduction (39 hours per week as theatres) in clinical time involved in stock ordering, releasing back to the front line; clinical consumable availability increased to 99.6% from 88%, and the benefits continue to roll.

We’ve experienced vast improvements in terms of :

Product traceability and recall (it would take about 48 hours to complete a full product safety recall, now it takes a couple of minutes to locate the product, about 30 minutes to find and if necessary quarantine or block the product for issue),

Stock availability (99.6%, daily monitoring)

Reduction in procurement transactions (10.3 hrs per week time saved, £5,200 annual productivity saving) as 7,000 lines now automatically consumed and ordered to pre-approved levels based on actual consumption).

Such success has been against a background of hard work from a committed team supported at Executive level, so be prepared for a huge challenge if you’re about to follow a similar route. It is tough, and challenges will most definitely arise during the process, but we found these stumbling blocks helped progress the project further (you learn from experience).

With the success of phase one under our belt, and phase two planned, we have learnt a great deal along the way and happy to share.
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