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There's barely a week that the National Health Service doesn't feature in the news and the coverage is now more frequent as we've all become aware that the organisation's financial struggles have reached crisis point. It's clear that something needs to be done to tackle the problem, and while much focus and many expensive consultations over recent years, have been on the potential closure of local facilities with the promise of 'super-hospitals' (not very local, but with better facilities and staffing), the thing the public focuses on is the tremendous unnecessary waste of money and resources.
Many believe that with the right purchasing decisions and less waste, we won't need to close hospitals. I had personal experience of this last year when my daughter was forced to have botox in her soft palette to freeze a spasm. As the consultant injected it, he grumbled that he only needed a small percentage of this highly expensive chemical, but that the vial contained the minimum amount that the supplier was prepared to offer. The majority of the product would be discarded. "Just imagine the costs involved, across the entire NHS!" he said. "And just imagine that across all the chemicals and other products the NHS has to buy!"
NHS waste hit the headlines again this week and the cleaning industry didn't fare too well out of it, being accused of charging too much for basics such as toilet tissue and cleaning services, while being blamed for hospital acquired infections. Apparently, City Hospitals Sunderland has been paying 66p per loo roll while other Trusts have been paying half that. I pay around 28p a roll for quality tissue in the local supermarket and I'm hardly buying it in bulk!
What's going on? Why is a hospital - purchasing in huge quantities through a trade outlet rather than via a store - being charged so much? It doesn't make sense, does it? We need our NHS, and the cleaning industry - forever fighting to improve public perception of what we do - can help it to survive and thus prove what an important industry we are. What can we as an industry do, to enable NHS facilities everywhere to be properly cleaned and well stocked with the products we supply, for a consistent and reasonable price while we maintain decent margins? It can't be hard, can it? And the NHS is well worth it. Please let me know what you think...
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30th March 2017