Case Study - Buyer profile: Tom Hair - PCS helps builds hospital awareness

An organisation which has some unique buying considerations has seen the use of PCS build greater awareness of its function and role within the NHS. The State Hospital at Carstairs officially became part of the NHS in 1995 and is one of four high secure hospitals in the UK. Registered with PCS since the launch of the service, the hospital has been able to build a better profile with suppliers, reinforcing that its needs are similar to other hospitals within the health care system.


Following a major construction project completed in 2011, the hospital was rebuilt to ensure patients are provided with accommodation appropriate to their needs and in an environment that supports rehabilitation. The rebuild delivered 19,000m2 of new wards and facilities and refurbished a further 1,500m2.

The procurement for the rebuild was managed through PCS and since its completion, the procurement team is mainly focused on maintenance and
service contracts as well as small capital projects.

Head of Procurement, Tom Hair, is responsible for a team of six and handles all aspects of the Hospital’s buying needs.

Tom said: “The focus for the team for a number of years was centred around the rebuild of the hospital, and now, we deliver the day-to-day
procurement needs of the organisation. This involves co-ordinating and managing contracts that we are part of nationally through the NHS, or, advertising contracts directly on PCS that are specific to The State Hospital.

“As a procurement team we are faced with a distinctive set of challenges when looking to source goods and services – we have to be mindful of the environment they will be used in and the patients we are catering for.
Nothing is bought without appropriate risk assessments – this can throw up
certain challenges for the most ordinary product, but it is something the team is well experienced in and it certainly makes our buying function quite unique from that perspective.

“Not only do we have to assess what we buy, but we also need to engage with suppliers on how goods and services will be delivered. As a high-security hospital, we need to ensure that the day-to-day running of the building, including deliveries of goods and services, are managed appropriately. The rebuild of the hospital has improved this process considerably and access by suppliers – although still subject to security checks – has been designed to remove risk.

“PCS has improved our ability to engage directly with suppliers, it has given us the ability to create a better understanding of our needs, in particular, that we have the same needs as any other hospital. PCS also ensures that we carry out our procurement needs in a fair and transparent way, and, thanks to greater competition and supplier engagement, it ensures value for money.”