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New lead for DHSC’s MedTech directorate

Published on: 16 Sep 2022

The procurement lead from a major London acute will lead the Department of Health and Social Care’s new medical technology directorate, HSJ has learned.

David Lawson has been the highly regarded procurement lead at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust in south London for more than 20 years. He is expected to take up his new post as medical technology (or MedTech) director at DHSC in the autumn.

He will lead DHSC’s new MedTech directorate, which was set up in the spring of 2021. It was introduced by Steve Oldfield, DHSC chief commercial officer, to improve the supply of medical technology after the pandemic demonstrated “the criticality of the MedTech sector to the effective functioning of the healthcare system” while also exposing vulnerabilities in how vital products are procured and distributed, according to an internal memo from Mr Oldfield.

Mr Lawson will be responsible as MedTech director for “shaping the nation’s strategy to drive better outcomes and value from the spend of around £10bn per annum” on MedTech, according to a job specification for the role. This will include “accelerating adoption of innovative products where they improve clinical outcomes and offer value for money”.

He will also manage “direct spend of around £100m per annum, including ensuring the UK’s strategic reserve of MedTech equipment (currently valued at around £750m) remains fit for purpose”.

His remit will also cover “managing ongoing risks to national supply post-EU transition, and from covid-19 and other threats; mitigating and preventing supply issues where possible; and ensuring management of shortages and discontinuations”.

Ensuring resilience and continuity of supply will be a particular challenge in the coming weeks and months as the NHS tackles mountainous backlogs, surging non-elective demand that will only grow as winter arrives, and ongoing, significant disruptions and shortages of hundreds of medical consumables and products.

A Guy’s and St Thomas’ FT spokesperson said: “As chief procurement officer, David has transformed the trust’s procurement function, introducing many innovative solutions including deployment of automated inventory systems and the off-site supply chain hub at Dartford which played such a critical role during the pandemic.

“Sustainability has been at the heart of David’s thinking and he leaves a legacy of green projects, including championing smaller companies and local suppliers, and piloting the use of riverboats and cargo bikes.”

HSJ has contacted DHSC for comment.

Update: This post was updated at 16.30 on 16 September to include a quote from GSTT.