Position Statement 58

An SDMA response to the limitation of Market Access by NHS Supply Chain

A vast number of wounds are treated every day by the NHS in both hospital and community settings, with at least 2.2 million wounds in the UK on an annual basis.  The cost to the NHS of managing these wounds is estimated to be £5.3bn per year, with most wound care being managed directly by nurses.  Since around 85% of wound care costs are related to just nursing costs and home visits (up to £80 per time) any delay in healing will dramatically increase overall costs.  Choosing the most appropriate wound care product is thus crucial to reducing healing times and minimising overall treatment costs. 

Lord O’Shaughnessy (former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health and Social Care) has publicly stated  ‘supporting good wound care and providing the best and most effective products in the health care system are both essential parts of the strategy’.  

The spirit of the NHS cost saving initiatives should therefore consider the overall treatment cost of wound care management – and not just the unit cost of dressings[1].  This is clearly not the remit of the current procurement system (CTSPs and SCCL).  The Department for Health & Social Care need to take back control of the procurement process – and reiterate exactly what is required to reduce those overall treatment costs.  

The ultimate goal should be to deliver both best value for the NHS and better patient outcomes. This best value comes from ensuring the most appropriate management is delivered at the most appropriate time.  That overall cost of care can only be reduced in the long term via value-based procurement, and not by a  system which massively rewards short term unit cost savings, as opposed to reducing overall NHS costs and improving the patient experience.  The current lack of clinical assessment or value-based procurement may also undermine the Government’s commitment for the National Wound Care Strategy Programme. 

A copy of the position statement can be downloaded here.

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