Challenges in Procurement at National Health Service
In a decentralized model of procurement, each division of the company (departments, ministries, etc.) conducts the purchases necessary to meet their needs independently. For this purpose, specialized purchasing departments or other units similar in function are created in its structure. The centralized model provides for the creation of a kind of purchasing center, where orders for purchases from departments are flocked. In the case of the maximum level of centralization, a special department is formed that is responsible for all public procurement or a corresponding procurement department for a large company.
In the EU, a combination of models turns out to be most effective when, for example, the overall management of procurement activities (development of the regulatory framework, planning, control, and coordination) is carried out by the Ministry of Finance or the Economy, in particular, through budgeting, and specific purchases are carried out by specialized procurement structures. This is the structure of the public procurement system in the UK, where in addition to the main coordinating agency – the Treasury – there are specialized industry procurement services such as the National Health Service.
Tenders are an integrated characteristic of the mentioned combined approach that is inherent to the UK. Over the last few years, the legal framework that determines tender policy within the healthcare sector in the country has become a notable issue. A plethora of SMEs and officials claimed that the rulings requiring NHS establishments to put contracts out to tender been high-cost, as well as forced many commissioners to offer contracts due to the concerns regarding possible legal actions. Moreover, given these strict legal tights and a number of other factors, insignificant sustainability within the sector has also become a problem as it seems that there is no necessary extent of flexibility and investments. Hence, it might be assumed that the mentioned policy is to be rethought for the sake of the implementation of sustainable practices and appropriate laws.