There are a lot of discussions on the ethics of negotiating with suppliers after bids are already received. Such comments are mostly about worries of contributors regarding the impact on relations with suppliers and the influence on the levels quality and service (Sindewald 2010). Moreover, it becomes even more disturbing when we consider health sector. This essay is the discussion of the project North Bristol, particularly Southmead Community Hospital (hospital within the hospital) that is connected with the current public procurement legislation prohibiting post-tender price negotiation for the UK National Health System (NHS).
The idea of the integrated community hospital is to develop the infrastructure of “new and effective ways of care provision with the high volume and low risk presentations, which are to be provided via redesigned patient pathways by providing comprehensive assessment” (North Bristol 2012, 2013 ). The services are aimed at meeting the needs of the local population’s majority.
Phillips (2007) explains that NHS procurement is more challenging than in the private sector, because NHS is a more demanding environment itself. Traditionally, buyers in order to be successful need to satisfy two parties: customer and supplier with more focus on the supplier. At the same time, the customer is important as well. Unlike the industry, where the customer is the manufacturing department, the NHS’s is represented by a clinician. Thus, customer relationships are critical as their degradation can lead to the ‘purchasing department’ being bypassed.
Purchasing of technology, for example, orthopedic implants is a good example as well, where the manufacturers represent large corporations and tend to freeze the relationship between clinicians and procurement (The Scottish Government 2012). The suppliers recognize the conflict: buyers want to reduce the number of suppliers, which limits the surgeons’ choices of implant. Thus, having such risk does not benefit the NHS.