Pharmacy outsourcing

Posted by Alison Patten-Hall on
Many Trusts are looking to outsource non-core or support functions to enable more management time to be dedicated to improving patient care and experience.

Our experienced teams are able to advise on all legal aspects of the procurement including:

  • advising on procurement documents and strategic procurement advice to ensure that the Trust remains compliant but commercial as the project progresses;
  • supporting competitive dialogue, or negotiations between Trust and bidders during the process
  • drafting commercial terms between Trust and pharmacy provider to ensure a robust mechanism for appropriate clinical, financial and operational oversight, whilst allowing the provider to implement appropriate service redesign and configuration
  • advising on property aspects including the terms of leases to occupy Trust property, licenses for refurbishment and fit out, and liaising with third party landlords (where necessary)
  • familiar with the threats and pitfalls and able to anticipate issues

Case example: A large London teaching hospital

We were instructed to support the development of a procurement strategy for a large London teaching hospital, who were looking to implement innovative plans to restructure delivery of pharmacy services within its hospitals to enable the pharmacists to have more time to focus on front-line patient care.

The Trust was exploring a number of options and service lines which could have been delivered by third parties on an outsourced basis, but were uncertain as to the appetite or capability of the market. We supported the development of a multiple lot procurement – which enabled the Trust to assess each of the services separately, whilst retaining flexibility and realisation of any cost efficiencies if multiple lots were awarded.

We drafted a service agreement to be issued with the tender, which focussed on ensuring minimum standards of service and care that reflected the Trust’s core values, but that gave the winning bidder flexibility to implement a service that maximised the patient experience, in particular waiting times for outpatient dispensing. We worked with the Trust to develop a KPI framework that focussed on driving improvements in patient experiences over the term of the contract, which was then refined with the bidders during a dialogue process.

It is not unusual for external factors to influence the timetable on strategic projects. We worked with our client to minimise the impact on the procurement process of delays, and changes to the Trust’s requirements as a result of unanticipated events. We supported the Trust through the whole project to enable the Trust to sign contracts with the winning bidder and enable mobilisation works to commence without challenge from any unsuccessful bidders despite the delays and difficulties within the process.

Added value offering

We demonstrated our added value in our work with a large London teaching hospital: we worked with our client to identify areas for the Trust to be more efficient, and to make the overall process streamlined to reduce the level of overspend against the initial costs estimate agreed. We also offered additional project management and project management office support during the project, offering a consistent team over the project to support the delivery for the client. 

About the Author

Alison is head of Blake Morgan's Commercial team. She is a Partner specialising in commercial and complex high value projects. She has a great deal of experience of working with clients in the health and care sector, but also acting for large corporates on commercial projects.

Alison Patten-Hall
Email Alison
0118 955 3075

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