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National procurement chief appointed

Published on: 9 Jan 2023

NHS Supply Chain has appointed a commercial director to take charge of major reforms to its operating model and oversee day-to-day procurement of £3.5bn worth of devices and supplies vital for trust operations.

Andy McMinn will join the agency’s executive team on 1 April, reporting to chief executive Andrew New, according to an internal staff email from Mr New.

Mr McMinn has worked as the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ procurement lead since December 2021. However, before that he spent 11 years as chief procurement officer at Plymouth Hospitals Trust. During this time, he also held a number of national policy roles at NHS England and NHS Improvement, as well as leading the NHS Peninsula and Purchasing Supply Alliance.

Mr McMinn replaces Andy Windsor, who announced he was leaving the post  after less than a year to emigrate to New Zealand.

The news of Mr Windsor’s departure came less than a week after NHS Supply Chain revealed it was going to bring the management of all clinical procurement activities in-house, having previously outsourced them to external management service providers.

The in-sourcing process is ongoing, with the management of some categories of products already incorporated into NHSSC’s operations while others are set to come in by May 2023.

Mr McMinn will oversee the transfer of procurement and operational infrastructure, as well as hundreds of staff, from the current management providers to NHSSC in the space of a few months.

He will have to do this while also leading NHSSC teams that are grappling with ongoing and significant supply chain disruption that is seeing hundreds of products either out of stock entirely or being rationed to a greater or lesser extent.

Mr McMinn will have to address these challenges while NHSSC undergoes several other reform and transformation projects, and with relations between NHSSC and its customers the NHS trusts at a significant low.

The end of 2022 saw the challenging relationship between agency and trusts boil over into the public eye. In November, leading trust and integrated care system procurement leaders wrote to NHSSC and NHSE outlining their perceived failings of the organisation and its performance.

The letter raised their “concerns around the performance of [NHSSC] which is not only having a significant long-term impact on our teams, but is also starting to impact patient care to a point that local teams are struggling each day to mitigate the risks effectively”.

NHSSC’s chief executive Mr New defended his agency’s performance in an interview with HSJ, saying changes were being made but that “it will never be done at the speed that I want to work at – that’s just reality… clearly from the trust end they would love to see us jump from where we were last year to where we plan to be next year and they want to see it now.”

The agency is part-way through several projects to improve the infrastructure underpinning its operations, including overhauling the digital infrastructure for managing procurement and logistics processes.

Mr McMinn said in the internal communication: “Whilst at Plymouth, NHS Supply Chain played a significant role in my team’s success. I have often imagined working at NHS Supply Chain and I’m excited to finally do so, I cannot wait to get started.”

News of his appointment comes shortly after NHSSC announced the appointment of two new non-executive directors to the board of its management company, Supply Chain Coordination Limited.

Rommel Pereira and Mark Swyny joined the board on 1 January. Both have had careers in banking having had senior roles at the Bank of England and Lloyds Banking Group respectively. They both are also NEDs on NHS trusts: Mr Pererira at Homerton Healthcare FT and the London Ambulance Service Trust and Mr Swyny at Sussex Community FT.

“Their current NED roles on NHS trust boards also reflect our emphasis on continuing to put the perspectives of NHS trusts front and centre of everything we do to support the NHS,” SCCL chair Heather Tierney-Moore said.

Update: this post was updated at 11.29 on 9 January to clarify that Mr McMinn will be joining the executive board on 1 April.