Case Study - Delivering best practice across regions

With a cross-regional purchasing responsibility, Andy Hay, procurement planning manager for NHS Tayside and NHS Lothian, is well-placed to comment on the impact of PCS and examples of best practice.


NHS Tayside covers Angus, Dundee, Perth and Kinross and has a population of around 400,000, and at almost double the size, NHS Lothian is responsible for delivering services to Scotland’s second largest residential population with around 800,000 people in the region, and employs 24,000 staff. The combined purchasing budget for both health boards is over £400 million.

Andy took up his procurement role four years ago at NHS Tayside following a career in financial services in the private sector, and, has more recently been involved in developing procurement best practice across both NHS regions.

NHS Tayside and NHS Lothian have well-established purchasing practices with PCS embedded as the central driver to improving efficiency and value for money. They are one of the highest users of Quick Quote, helped by their internal training which gives buyers the tools to take ownership of their
buying decisions.

NHS Tayside and NHS Lothian are partners in the East of Scotland Procurement Consortium (ESPC). One of the key objectives of ESPC is to implement transparent and consistent processes.  PCS provides a common platform for collaboration across Health Boards and the wider public sector.

Andy Hay said:

“Buyers from Melrose to Kirkwall can work together on a project very easily with these tools and they have been a key enabler to our success.”

As a member of Tayside Opportunities for Procurement and Collaboration – an informal buying group made up of the University of Dundee, University of Abertay, Tayside Police, Tayside Fire Service, Angus Council, Dundee City Council, Perth and Kinross Council – NHS Tayside has many examples of how best to deliver the benefits of combined purchasing not just for contracting authorities, but also local SMEs by improving ways to engage with public sector organisations.

Andy said:

“NHS Tayside has been proactive in improving communication between the organisation and local suppliers. Organisations such as Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce have been very supportive in hosting Meet the Buyer events which are great platforms to meet with local businesses.

“PCS is a great service for delivering a transparent and competitive buying process which ensures contracts are advertised and accessed by as wide a supplier base as possible – this in turn means greater competition and better value for money.

“NHS Tayside is one of the organisations piloting PCS Tender – a tender module which aims to improve the way in which Scottish public sector buyers create and develop procurement contracts – which will deliver huge benefits for consistent and standardised end-to-end procurement.

“Improving procurement best practice, engaging with local suppliers and making use of collaborative contracts are objectives we are aiming to strengthen across both health regions.”