Ward managers, nurses, doctors and accounts staff from the Victoria Hospital were among the participants at an OECS workshop series entitled “Procurement and supply chain management of medicines and medical products.” The workshop, a collaborative effort between the OECS and the Victoria Hospital, was facilitated by Mr. Francis Barnett, Head of the OECS Pharmaceutical Procurement Service.
The workshop focused on the key components of supply chain management with reference to selecting the best available medicines based on predetermined criteria.
“With this workshop, we are building on the principles of explaining to nurses, doctors and other healthcare workers that the best medicines and medical products are available for use in the hospital setting based upon definite and predetermined criteria. The next important criterion is procurement.
Procurement is another important aspect of supply chain management. It’s important that we choose the right procurement method. There are four main methods about restricted tendering, open tendering, competitive bidding. We are looking at the pros and cons so that our participants will be empowered with the knowledge and the skills set to choose the most appropriate method to purchase particular commodities of medical products so that you maximize your returns and get best value for money,” Barnet stated.
Barnet added that up to forty percent of government expenditure goes to procurement, thus the need to strengthen and enhance procurement procedures to increase transparency and reduce wastage. The workshop also focused on medical stores management.
“Medical products are not ordinary articles of merchandise; they need to be stored in the appropriate temperature environment. They need to be secured with good inventory control practices. This is to ensure that we have a reliable supply of medical products for our patients….Healthcare workers are sometimes preoccupied with the clinical use of the item but the other components are equally effective to ensure that we have a reliable supply to our citizens. ”
Executive Director of the Victoria Hospital, Jeanette Hughes, stated that the workshop was timely and will better equip staff of the hospital with the necessary skills set to manage the critical services at the facility.
“Victoria Hospital is a resource-constrained environment and the management of the hospital is duty bound to find more efficient ways to utilize our supplies. The new hospital gives us a very good opportunity to review what we’re doing and to develop better ways what we undertake. Inventory management is a very critical component of the hospital. In many health institutions, the cost of supply is very high and for us going into the new hospital we are taking a proactive measure by ensuring that the persons who would be utilizing our services — the nurses, doctors and other staff members — are not just aware of the cost and what it takes to provide those supplies, but to commit to better management and more efficient utilization of the supplies.”
Hughes added that inventory management directly impacts the quality of service delivery by the hospital. One participant, Dylan Best, the Inventory Officer at Victoria Hospital, was quite pleased with the opportunity to upgrade his skills.
“The whole intention of the workshop was to enlighten us as to what procurement should be: how a hospital should manage procurement, how supplies should be managed, how cost should be managed and this is definitely an important part to any institution and hospital. Especially moving to the new OKEUH, which will be one of the most professional hospitals on the island to provide the most professional service to our patients and also the best consultancy we can offer in terms of managing healthcare.”
Management of Victoria Hospital has embarked on the number of training activities targeting all levels of staff in preparation for the imminent transition to the Owen King-EU Hospital.