It is no secret that the NHS has been having a hard time recently, with resources being stretched thin whilst patient numbers continue to build over the winter period. With a seeming lack of sufficient government funding, certain areas of the NHS may well benefit from being made more efficient through simple, low cost improvements.

One such area is the NHS supply chain, which is incredibly vast and complex. Here are some of the reasons an improved supply chain may help the NHS overall.

Speed

A better supply chain, which runs smoothly and efficiently, would allow essential resources to flow into the NHS at much greater speed, which would in turn allow medical staff to receive all the necessary items they need to take care of their patients.

It would also reduce waste in the NHS, given that the faster, more reliable inflow of delivered items would allow NHS staff to better gauge how much of each item they need and how often/regularly they need to be delivered.

Efficiency

With better processes in place to help keep the supply chain flowing smoothly, the NHS could expect to see a greater degree of overall efficiency in its services, and ultimately have more control over how its resources are used.

It could, for instance, be able to move medicines from one hospital to another (which has greater need for them) without the other hospital having to order in new supplies from the end of the supply chain. This would mean that, for a fraction of the cost, goods could be transported quicker and with less cost.

Reduced Costs

Perhaps one of the greatest benefits an improved supply chain could offer to the NHS is a reduction in costs. With the NHS already so strapped for cash, any increase in funds could significantly help hospitals to provide the necessary levels of care.

They could, for instance, put the money saved into finding more nurses, doctors and other medical staff, or into purchasing better medical equipment to improve the care they provide.

Relationships With Suppliers

A significant part of improving the NHS supply chain would be finding quality suppliers which are as close as possible to the UK. Their proximity would undoubtedly make it easier to contact them and develop better relationships, as well as resolve any problems which may arise with their products or ability to supply the NHS.

With a network of reliable, close suppliers, costs would most likely be driven down further. Developing relationships with these suppliers would also make it far easier for the NHS to negotiate on things like price, and ultimately ensure that it has the best possible resources that it can afford.

The NHS supply chain is a significant part of its operations, and as such could benefit a great deal from any improvements. It may take some work, but once the supply chain is fully optimised to suit the needs of the NHS, pressure on the institution could well be greatly reduced in the long term.

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