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.

Working life

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.

Deputy head of procurement

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.

Contracts manager

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".

Associate director of procurement and supplies

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.

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