SME’s struggle with NHS red-tape and increased bureaucracy

Supplying surgical devices to the NHS has never been easy.  Over the past few years however, the mountain of increased bureaucracy and red tape is becoming overwhelming and coincides with an ever decreasing budget. If I receive another circular letter from an NHS trust procurement department asking for "zero" inflation, whilst the same trust sends out information that they have now adopted "Who Are You" or another version of the representative tracking systems, (of which there must be around 6-7 now, that ALL have to be paid for by the companies for all our employees) - is there any wonder why prices go up!  To top this, companies seem to be responsible for "training" the NHS staff now and producing "training certificates" on every device.  

Now there is GS1, GLN and PEPPOL to be adopted by every company and supplier to the NHS, adding further costs and administration – at zero inflation of course.  And, lets not forget Framework agreements, contracts, PPQ forms and tenders – which of course are not on one platform but an ever increasing range of “trust portals” – all with different access points, login details and methods of contact!  The “N” in National Health Service is totally inappropirate, it is anything but “national”.  Adopting one Procurement system and one sales representative tracking system and one effective on-line tender system, would at least reduce the burden of wading through the mess of schemes that are now in use by each trust and NHS direct!  

Years ago, every hospital had a Suppliers Manager, where today they have Procurement departments – I wonder where the extra costs are being spent?