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  • Marc Naughton posted an update in the group Sustainable Healthcare 1 week, 1 day ago

    Hi, Apologies for the delay in introducing ,myself.
    I’m a senior paramedic working at NHS Supply Chain in Tower 5 which is responsible for all Rehabilitation, Disabled Services, Women’s Health and Associated Consumables. In essence everything from O&G, maternity to crutches and wheelchairs and continence..

    I’m interested in any initiatives that involve products covered above and sustainability impacts that could be captured, promoted and encouraged at a national level.

    One area that always creates discussion is the return of products e.g. crutches for re-use recyclability and how some trusts embrace this whilst others won’t take the risk.

    Would you pay more for 100 % bio-degradable products?
    What if it was double the cost?
    we have e.g. casting tapes that can be thrown in the domestic composter when no longer required.
    Could you ever see a situation where a patient offers to pay a supplement for this type of product to help get them from niche to mainstream and therefor more affordable?
    Ethical implications?
    where does the money go?
    does this open a can of worms leading to basic products for all patients but nice products for those that can afford them?

    Anyway hello everyone.

    • Thank you, Marc, for introducing yourself and for those interesting questions.
      I’d be really interested to hear what others think about Marc’s questions. Please do feel free to pitch in to the conversation!

    • Hi Marc,
      I am Sarah Andersen, a GP in Sussex. I like your thinking, and have been discussing such issues with friend of mine Edward Bradley. His company ‘Virtualstock’, has been creating a more independent marketplace for secondary care, offering people ordering equipment more choice and more options for ( sometimes) a better price by streamlining the supply chain. I have suggested to him that if purchasers could see a more sustainable product, and how much more this might cost, they could make a call on it. I suspect that the market would then swing towards a greater demand for sustainably and ethically produced items – or am I overly optimistic?

    • Hi Marc and everyone,

      Interesting questions.

      I wonder if more frameworks and contract specifications should start to include sustainability as a criteria for assessment and award? At present (up front) cost is the deciding factor much of the time but do we consider disposal or other sustainability factors adequately? Lots of potential for discussion.
      To me it seems unlikely that we will be in a situation that patients choose to top up to pay for more sustainable options until we reach a stage of personalised budgets where it is easier to manage this level of choice. I was contacted recently by a supplier wanting to supply organic tube feeds into the UK but there is much complexity around achieving this through current systems. I’m not sure how many patients would choose this, or if financially viable for the company?

      I’m an AHP working in procurement too.


    • Hi Rebecca,

      I think the short answer to your ‘wonder’ is yes – it is a must. 62% of NHS footprint = supply chain and we do not stand a hope of reaching NZ unless the Standard Contract is amended and forces the NHS to measure value not only in financial terms but societal/planetary too for product whole lifecycle.

      This leverage is starting to work in the shipping industry (of all places) where ship purchasers are placing increasing pressure on builders for low/zero emissions (ZE) ships and whilst ZE is still experimental, there are plans being made within industry and it is buyers driving change.

      If the ‘NHS’ (the buyer) rewarded suppliers who acted upon their own Green Plans and society/planet was measured (metrics to be designed) as we do financial value then this will ultimately result in suppliers changing as they will not wish to miss out on securing contracts.

      I repeatedly bang the drum for this approach at every meeting I attend which is linked to procurement.

      Take care,