7 May 2009 11:39 AM
Step change in nhs commercial expertise

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH News Release issued by COI News Distribution Service on 7 May 2009

Commercial and procurement skills across the NHS will receive a major boost to help deliver high quality, personalised care for patients, following the publication of a new Commercial Operating Model by the Department of Health today.

Commercial skills are integral to today's NHS. The new Commercial Operating Model will strengthen commercial leadership within the NHS and help it deliver high quality care for every patient.

Director General of Commissioning and System Management, Mark Britnell said:

"Over the coming years, the NHS faces the challenge of continuing to improve the quality, accessibility and range of services delivered to patients, while making the most of every penny of the taxpayer's money. The demand for first class commercial skills within the NHS will only increase.

"The new Commercial Operating Model will deliver a step change in commercial capability, raising the standard of commercial knowledge at all levels across the NHS, ensuring the appropriate support and structures are in place to deliver efficient, innovative and responsive care for patients.

The Commercial Operating Model will improve support and increase commercial capability throughout the NHS by:

* creating new regional Commercial Support Units (CSUs), offering a range of dedicated commercial support to NHS health care providers and service commissioners to help them improve their skills, gain better value from procurement and respond more effectively to the commercial challenges of operating in today's NHS. PCTs will not advance past level 1 for World Class Commissioning competencies relating to 'stimulate the market' and 'secure better procurement skills', unless they develop the functionality offered by CSUs;

* making the 10-year NHS Supply Chain contract work harder and smarter to deliver greater efficiencies for providers and commissioners alike, with more transparent pricing, increased responsiveness and better strategic management;

* transferring the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency's (PASA) functions to organisations that can add greater scope, scale and impact to the procurement of goods and services;

* creating a new commercial centre within the Department of Health - the Procurement, Investment and Commercial and Division (PICD) to strengthen commercial and procurement support for the department itself and to ensure alignment of the wider commercial landscape. A new Strategic Market Development Unit will take responsibility for leadership and support to commissioners in market analysis and market-making. It will also be instrumental in developing the new Cooperation and Competition Panel; and

* ensuring that the third, voluntary and private sector have a clear and visible point of contact in each region, simplifying the process.

Mike Parish, Chief Executive of Care UK and Chair of the Independent Sector Procurement Forum said:

"The new Commercial Operating Model is a welcome initiative to enhance commercial expertise in commissioning."

Notes to Editors:

1. The Commercial Operating Model has been developed over the last eight months and follows the recent Office of Government Commerce Procurement Capability Review which highlighted a need in the Department of Health to address its commercial and procurement functions.

2. The model can be found at:

3. The changes will be implemented over the next 12 months.

4. For further information contact the Department of Health press office on: 0207 210 5221.