Procuring health services 

Securing strong delivery partnerships

The challenge

A new procurement cycle should be run when existing services can no longer maximise outcomes through refinement alone

An effective commissioning cycle will determine health needs and inequities, reconcile priorities and develop new care pathways that carry the confidence of commissioning leaders, patients, carers and care professionals.

This pathway then needs to be implemented and a key consideration is whether existing services can be refined and adjusted or whether there is a need for a complete procurement cycle because:

  • The new pathway is so fundamentally different in workflow, care delivery and intended outcomes
  • There is a need to attract and test the appetite of new market entrants
  • The implementation would benefit from different perspectives of potential care providers.

The decision to procure needs to consider the impact on the existing provider landscape and whether decommissioning would have consequential impacts on other services and how these are delivered.

Dialogue with users, subject experts, and potential care providers is a vital precursor to procurement

A critical first stage in any procurement is to develop the service specification and to seize the opportunity to involve service users, subject experts and potential care providers in informal dialogue about the specification prior to the launch of the procurement.

This step can reveal important intelligence about workflow, risks, dependencies and crucially, the cost profile of the new service, even if the expected costs themselves remain confidential.

This dialogue provides the commissioner with confidence that a procurement strategy will succeed

The procurement strategy needs to recognise the market and the nature of the service specification.

A wide range of contract vehicles can also be used including ‘sole provider’, ‘lead provider’, ‘consortium’, ‘partnership’ etc. and each have their merits depending on the desired outcomes.

It is vital, however, that commissioners recognise that whatever contract vehicle is chosen, this will impact on the behaviour and mindset of the successful provider.

A necessary step is to evaluate potential risks and undertake simulations of possible scenarios before confirming contractual clauses.

What we do

We help you streamline your procurement processes to run more smoothly

We apply international good practice in health procurement to re-design your processes. This leads to faster procurements, with fewer handoffs, less stress and reduced risks. Our overall approach for procurement process simplifies the following key steps of the procurement process:

Streamlining the procurement process​

We help you develop a clear service specification supported by a robust logic model

A necessary first step is the development of a comprehensive service specification that includes intended service outcomes, treatment regimes, workflow, information flows and workforce.​

Our approach is to articulate this through the development of a logic model which is developed through dialogue with service users, subject experts and potential care providers. Our approach to developing logic models is summarised below:​

Procuring health services

We help you develop procurement strategies that maximise outcomes from investments

We help you design and evaluate the procurement strategy through consideration of the potential market, the risks of procurement and decommissioning and the likely competition benefits/dis-benefits.

In parallel, we work with commissioners to evaluate different contractual vehicles and payment mechanisms and how these could incentivise and dis-incentivise intended behaviours.

We help you design procurements with measurable indicators of success that lead to long-term collaborative relationships with providers

By carefully co-designing the service logic model, we help you identify a balanced set of performance indicators to monitor and evaluate service delivery.

We support procurements that are not confrontational. Working alongside legal teams, our approach is to support a professional procurement strategy that is disciplined, thorough, focussed on the intended outcomes and one that provides the basis for a long-term partnership that benefits commissioners, their populations and the successful care provider.

Get in touch to discuss how we can support you to procure health services more effectively