Purchasing and contract management
Making sure that the NHS has the necessary goods and services is vital to the delivery of healthcare. As a purchasing and contract manager, your role will be making sure this is done smoothly allowing our healthcare professionals to focus on our patients.
You’ll be working with external suppliers and internal NHS departments to get the best products and services available within the resources available.
In purchasing and contract management, there are a number of areas you could work in. For example:
- internal logistics (the movement of stores, receipting and distribution)
- information management
- materials management.
You’ll need an understanding of the complete supply chain from understanding an identified need for a service or product, through knowing the provider market, the tendering, selecting and awarding process to asset management.
Roles in purchasing and contract management
Job titles and roles will vary but here are some examples of job roles in purchasing and contract management.
In this role, you’d be required to:
- manage a large and varied contract portfolio
- visit a number of sites within the local area
- undertake and manage procurements from identifying a requirement to the awarding of the contract using procurement and sourcing principles
- analyse and report on a range of subjects including, products, suppliers and tender evaluation
- organise product trials, analyse product use and supply, investigate savings opportunities and implement and report accordingly.
In this example, you’d be based within the supplies department of an acute (hospitals) trust. You’d be:
- maximising cost savings and efficiencies in the contracting and procurement process
- developing and managing a range of suppliers
- and improving on service delivery through the use of "best practice".
Working in an NHS trust of over 5,000 staff your key responsibility would be to re-develop and re-engineer the supply chain business for the trust. You’d be heavily involved in the strategic direction of the trust.
Want to learn more?
- Find out more about the entry requirements, skills and interests required to enter a career in purchasing and contract management
- Find out more about the training you’ll receive for a career in purchasing and contract management
Most jobs in the NHS are covered by the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay scales. This pay system covers all staff except doctors, dentists and the most senior managers. In purchasing and contract management, your career in the NHS would typically start at Agenda for Change Band 5, with opportunities to progress to positions at Bands 6 and 7, and the most senior roles rising to Band 8c for example.
Staff in the NHS will usually work a standard 37.5 hours per week. They may work a shift pattern.
Terms and conditions of service can vary for employers outside the NHS.
With further training and/or experience, you may be able to develop your career further and apply for more senior managerial roles – potentially at director level, with a broader remit.
Progression for those with ability is typically via general management with a large healthcare provider
Relocation for promotion is common.
More diverse routes are now opening up, for example, jointly-funded posts between health and social services.
When you’re looking for managerial jobs or apprenticeship vacancies, there are a number of sources you can use but most vacancies in NHS organisations can be found on the NHS Jobs website.
Just some of the current vacancies are below.
Find a vacancy