South Island Health Alliance Named Finalist In International Procurement Awards

24 Sep 2013

The South Island Alliance has been named a finalist in the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply 2013 Procurement Professional Awards, as a result of its demonstrable professionalism, collective procurement, and efforts to save in excess of $50 million for the five South Island District Health Boards in the last three years.

The prestigious awards celebrate the achievements of outstanding procurement professionals, their projects and partnerships from throughout the region. As well as provide broad recognition of professionals operating at the peak of their game.

This year saw upwards of 70 submissions, highlighting various achievements and breakthroughs across the profession. The submissions were received from organisations large and small, public and private, including many of the world’s most well-known brands.

The South Island Alliance is a collaborative effort of the five South Island DHBs to utilise combined resources to jointly solve problems, develop innovative solutions to health sector challenges and achieve better health outcomes for the people of the South Island.

Chair of the South Island Alliance (and of Nelson-Marlborough District Health Board), Jenny Black, says having the Alliance named as a finalist is a remarkable achievement for the Procurement and Supply Chain workstream.

“There have been significant savings of $14.4 million across the five DHBs last financial year, which can now be allocated back into other parts of the health service. Some of this has been achieved through the South Island DHBs working to purchase goods, services and equipment cooperatively, and each DHB is now able to put that money into more health services for their communities,” Ms Black says.

“This is a real credit to the team who have made some significant gains over the last couple of years to deliver financial savings and efficiencies, reduce duplication and work towards achieving clinically led standardisation across the regions.”

John Osborne, Canterbury and West Coast District Health Boards’ Supply Chain Manager and Chair of the South Island Alliance Procurement and Supply Chain workstream, says the work stream works regionally and collaboratively with clinicians, service managers, partner organisations and other workstreams.

“The workstream devised a plan to improve efficiencies and cost savings, which have realised a range of benefits, both directly relating to procurement and more widely for the South Island Alliance,” he says.

John says the joint procurement projects cover a huge range of items, from medical gases, haemodialysis supplies and patient warming technology, through to items such as postage-paid envelopes and plastic bags.

Procurement practices were improved by developing shared templates and regionally-agreed contract terms and conditions. A project management tool also allowed executive oversight of all regional projects through its reporting mechanism.  Appropriate evaluation methodologies were agreed and implemented consistently, and evaluation matrices were shared and assessed together.

“The workstream has improved processes, demonstrating a powerful model of bringing together individuals from a range of professional interests and geographic areas to form a team and achieve tangible results for the betterment of New Zealand South Island health services and patients,” John says.

The winners will be announced on the evening of Wednesday 23 October at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre as part of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply’s ninth Annual Conference.


 Background Information

 The following outcomes have been achieved:

  • Significant savings resulted from improved processes and leveraging opportunities for joint Procurement.  Nearly $15 million was saved in the 2012-13 financial year.
  • As a consequence of the savings, South Island DHBs now have several million dollars that can be reprioritised into other areas, for the benefit of patients
  • Improved oversight of regional Procurement activity in both expenditure and Capital has eventuated
  • A strong sense of teamwork has been developed across Public Health Procurement departments in the South Island of New Zealand
  • Joint training sessions in Procurement have occurred
  • Training materials from other training sessions have been shared
  • There is now joint use of project management tools
  • The profile of South Island Alliance has been raised
  • The profile of Procurement across individual DHBs and across South Island healthcare system has been raised
  • New Zealand’s Ministry of Health has acknowledged and praised the plans and outcomes of the workstream


Benefits for patients, clinicians and the health system – Bruce Matheson, Chair of Canterbury District Health Board

  • Although patients may not see any changes as a result of the achievements of the workstream, the savings have a tangible impact on the way resources can be allocated to provide the most efficient services for patients. For the 2012-13 year, each of the five SIA DHBs now have several million dollars that can be reprioritised into other areas, to the benefit of patients, as a direct result of the workstream teamwork.
  • Clinical staff have benefited from the workstream’s initiatives through having greater engagement with Procurement and Supply.  Clinical engagement across the region services the workstream through resource planning and product evaluation. There are clearer, evidence-based processes rather than a piecemeal approach to acquiring new equipment and supplies.
  • The combination of the evident successes of the workstream, more robust Procurement and planning processes having been developed and the increased professionalism of Procurement teams has resulted in DHB Executives and Boards having much greater confidence in Procurement and Supply Chain.  DHB management teams now acknowledge that Procurement is an increasingly efficient and well planned process, rather than being reactive and demand-driven.

Published on: Tuesday, September 24th, 2013, under General