How a health board engages with supply chains is critical to delivering improved health services. This is particularly important with significant increases in patient demand.
A challenging issue facing the NHS is growing waiting lists. This is particularly difficult in endoscopy with an estimated 30,000 waiting for procedures including cancer diagnosis.
As a result, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board (CAVUHB) launched an Endoscopy Challenge funded by a £750,000 grant from the Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) Challenge Fund. This Challenge was looking for innovative approaches to accelerate delivery of endoscopy procedures to improve access and reduce waiting times.
The initial approach to engage potential suppliers was using a Prior Information Notice. However, the response did not provide the anticipated range of suppliers. As a result, SimplyDo was engaged to help identify and engage specialist suppliers with relevant endoscopy-related products.
The primary purpose was to identify and engage suppliers with novel capabilities relevant to reducing endoscopy waiting lists. This was under an accelerated timescale (i.e. 30 days). As a result, SimplyDo fully managed the process to significantly reduce the time required by the already busy CAVUHB personnel.
The identification stage involved in-depth market research using the SimplyDo product industry intelligence capabilities. This enables access to multiple structured and unstructured data sources to effectively identify specialist suppliers. Additional research was provided by our in-house research team.
The engagement stage involved targeted engagement with suppliers. Our multi-channel approach was essential in ensuring the opportunity wasn’t missed. This involved working closely with CAVUHB including full compliance with PCR 2015.
Following the process, two applicants from Wales subsequently received funding and support to develop their projects. CanSense (from Swansea) is developing a blood based test to help prioritise patients on the endoscopy waiting list and reduce time to diagnosis. IQ Endoscopes (from Chepstow) is developing sustainable single use flexible endoscopes that replace the need for time consuming and expensive decontamination processes.
This project demonstrated how a health board can collaborate with external partners to deliver innovation. However, the role of SimplyDo was an important one in ensuring the identification and engagement of novel endoscopy-related suppliers.