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Doing business in health: Moving to ProCure 21+

ProCure 21+ will still follow the same partnering ethos, but changes have been made.

It will move from using the NEC2 form of contract to NEC3. And this time the NHS says its PSCP does not have to be contractor-led.

“[The NHS] is not necessarily looking for building contractors, what they are looking for is what they call ‘solution providers’,” says Michael Clarke, health manager at Willmott Dixon.

“The NHS is deliberately casting the net as wide as possible just so that no tricks can be missed. If they start wide, the OJEU itself is wide enough to cover all eventualities,” he says. And he points out that of the seven partners on the recently announced Express LIFT framework, only two were contractors.

Mr Clarke suggests that the NHS will also be looking for partners which do more in-house. “One question I suspect for every single supply chain will be: how much of a service can you offer in-house rather than how much you have to put out to specialist consultants.”

The firm is putting its supply chain together now. Mr Clarke’s advice for subcontractors which might want to work with it? “[A supplier] would need to sign up to Willmott Dixon’s partnering and sustainability ethos… It’s getting that approach first and if they can pass that test then it’s expertise and experience.”

For ProCure21+ in Wales, each supply chain can only have a set number of people on it and a consultant cannot be on more than one supply chain. In Scotland and England the NHS will be happy for consultants to be working for more than one supply chain.

The pressures of working in the sector

By Conor Ellis.

As with any industry, the key determinant for success is a thorough understanding of the issues. In the case of health, it is being aware of the type of pressures facing front-line staff, provider executive teams and commissioners.

These issues include uniformity of quality and patient safety and the search for better value through world class commissioning of services. The tariff reductions forecast for provider units will lead to an increasing financial burden on hospitals.

Other issues include delivering more patient-focused aspects of service and improving the 20 per cent plus of pre-1948 accommodation left in the NHS, to provide better healing environments for patients and staff to work in.

The NHS particularly will need to respond to delivering better value and looking at more radical efficiency solutions than ever before. Some of these will come from taking a ‘best in class’ approach from Europe and North America.

If the NHS thought the current year has opened system tensions, these will be magnified a hundred times in the next two years. It is clear with the public sector deficit increasing monthly that once this three year financial settlement expires, new budget deals may be much harder on the NHS.

Conor Ellis is a partner and head of health sector at EC Harris and is speaking at Construction News’ Healthcare Construction 09 conference on 23 June

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