Friday 19 July 2013

Sainsbury's expand hospital pharmacy network - NHS missing a trick?

News that the UK’s No. 2 retailer plans to open four new outpatient hospital pharmacies each year, helping it to meet its ambitious target of doubling its pharmacy revenues over the next three years, indicates that the principle of applying state-of-art retailing expertise to the management hospital pharmacies works sufficiently well to encourage roll-out of the process...

Sainsbury’s opened its first outpatient pharmacy, at James Cook University Hospital, in February 2012 and this was followed by the outpatient pharmacies at Guy’s and St Thomas’ in December.

Mike Coupe, Sainsbury’s Group Commercial Director, said: "As we grow our network of outpatient pharmacies the feedback we receive from patients and the NHS trusts we work with has been overwhelmingly positive. The experience we have gained from these, combined with that of running over 270 in-store pharmacies, gives us confidence that by expanding our network of outpatient pharmacies we will be able to offer a greater level of service to the NHS and wider community."

The NHS missing a trick?
Whilst the Sainsbury's initiative is a major step forward of great benefit to all stakeholders, are the NHS missing a trick by not tapping into one of Sainsbury's key areas of expertise – procurement?

Why not second a few of Sainsbury's best buyers to help manage the procurement process on behalf of the NHS?

Whilst public sector contracts might be more complicated and difficult to terminate, surely Sainsbury's could bring considerable clarity and focus to the process of selection, and negotiation.

With an emphasis on output rather than input, an instinct for patient need-satisfaction but especially the incorporation of realistic KPIs and a drive for effectiveness, a grocer’s input might make a real difference…

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