Back in September 2012 the NHS Supply Chain released its framework for the ethical procurement of surgical instruments.
The new Surgical Instruments framework has now launched (February 2017). This framework covers:
● Single Use Surgical Instruments and Single Use Surgical Instrument Packs
● Reusable Surgical Instruments
● Scalpel Blades, Scalpel Handles and Disposable Scalpels
● Single Use Suction Tubes
● Self-Retaining Retraction Systems
● Sterile Single Use Plastic Forceps
The NHS Supply Chain is continuing to help surgical instrument suppliers meet LSAS contract conditions as a key part of its Ethical Procurement Strategy.
The Labour Standards Assurance System (LSAS) was introduced, in collaboration with the Department of Health, as part of this framework, aiming to continually improve labour standards management and mitigate risks. The LSAS is a unique selling point, part of a pioneering approach to include ethical procurement considerations for surgical instruments. The surgical instruments framework sees NHS Supply Chain go even further in its labour standards assurance, and highlighting its commitment to ensuring quality instrument suppliers.
The LSAS has so far been effective, with clear expectations and practical milestones that must be met as a contract condition. All awarded instrument suppliers are required to have a level 2 LSAS in order to trade via the framework, they are also supported towards achieving level 3. Level 3 requires suppliers are audited or visited objectively, to ensure LSAS is achieving tangible results, through improvement in labour relations, child labour and health and safety.
The LSAS places the responsibility on the suppliers to demonstrate they have effective systems in place. Surgical Holdings have been awarded a level 2 place on the NHS Supply Chain framework agreement for Reusable Surgical Instruments.
Stephanie Gibney, Ethical and Sustainability Manager at NHS Supply Chain said:
“We are committed to transparency and embedding ethical procurement, and have been working closely with our suppliers through the Labour Standards Assurance System. Our new surgical instruments framework supports and extends our work in this area and helps suppliers to further develop policies and processes to meet requirements in line with International Labour Organisation conventions and the UK Modern Slavery Act.”
Paul Sroden, Vascular Surgeon at Barts Health NHS Trust added:
“Poor quality surgical instruments increase the risk of surgical site infections and complications – equating to increased patient care and additional cost to the NHS. Having a National Supply Chain and Quality Assurance Programme for Surgical Instruments allows for an independent expert to be closely involved in selecting supply lines, ensuring they meet the quality standards required and helping improve patient safety.”
The framework agreement has the potential to save £1.8million by next year.
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