29. March 2010 17:26
The new NHS Commercial Support Units will help local and regional decision-makers to support the quality and productivity agenda by building effective relationships with suppliers and independent health providers, a new DH publication explains.
Commercial Skills for the NHS sets out a strategy for supporting NHS staff to develop their commercial skills, and for supporting local commissioners and providers with a new commercial infrastructure.
The document makes it clear that the new infrastructure for NHS commissioning and procurement has the overarching goal of supporting a shift from hospital care to healthcare in the community.
The role of the Commercial Support Units in helping PCTs and SHAs to relate more effectively to the range of product and service providers on the ground, as well as to the structures (such as NHS Supply Chain) that are seeking to rationalise procurement activity at national level, is explained.
Commercial Skills for the NHS supersedes Necessity not Nicety - a new commercial operating model for the NHS (May 2009), clarifying the new infrastructure and indicating that the 'preferred provider status' of the NHS does not impede open competition for franchises in the redesign of service provision.
The goal of Commercial Skills for the NHS is to clarify the role of the Commercial Support Units in supporting service redesign at local and regional level, driving changes in commissioning and procurement to support quality and productivity - and thereby opening doors for innovative healthcare product suppliers and service providers.