This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.


It wasn’t long ago, though it seems like a lifetime,

when the Government presented its spring budget, which initially provided in the healthcare

sector with some optimism. Here, Julian Fris, Director, Neller Davies

discusses its effects on small businesses

in the healthcare sector.

Plans to provide an additional £325m for NHS Sustainability and Transformation, coupled with an extra £2bn for social care over next three years were well received in some quarters; however, even then, it was perceived by others to be a sticking plaster, covering the need for more fundamental change in approach.

As we know, providing more cash isn’t always the most appropriate and long-term solution. Innovation and enterprise most certainly is. That budget, whilst it was challenged immediately, was especially significant for its mixed messages around enterprise and the role that small and medium businesses play in our communities. From an NHS estates and facilities perspective, the increasing role these can play in supporting our hospitals and care-based establishments cannot be understated.

These are challenging financial times for the NHS - that’s why it’s really important for care providers to enable better access to the market, especially now. Small and community- based businesses will not survive without access to local markets, which sit at the core of our communities.

Right now, the outsourcing of non-core NHS services largely sits with the big players. If you take catering as a sample group, we’ve seen fewer independent caterers popping up in recent years with an increasing trend of smaller players merging with, or being acquired by, bigger caterers or facilities management companies.

We are seeing more high street retailers like Pret, Subway and Greggs, entering the healthcare food market. According to Plimsoll research, larger catering


companies in the UK have grown by 8.2% since 2006 whilst there has been no overall growth of smaller firms who have less than £2m annual turnover.

Risk aversion, which is a real issue in some sectors, limits the choice for the NHS hence we end up with big companies as they are often seen as the safe bet. Being more altruistic and encouraging SMEs will breed more innovation, buy-in etc and allows more bespoke solutions rather than oligopolistic constraints.

A healthy sector needs a good mix of established larger players with smaller independents snapping at their heels. To redress the balance, we introduced something called the ‘Operators Choice’ model into a couple of our projects - this has been well received by customers, clients and suppliers.



It is a pretty straightforward concept. We offer bidders tendering opportunities in the healthcare sector. Whilst big businesses are not discouraged, because they attract customers and revenue, we ask that 25% of the total offer be provided by independent traders such as local SME’s, social enterprises or co-operatives.

The main operator is responsible for the management, pre-vetting (i.e. HACCP and DBS checking) and service standards. This gives smaller independents access to contracts, venues and buildings they’d never usually get a chance to see, along with the watchful support of more experienced providers who have better ‘back-office’ capability and risk profiles. It creates an environment where the SMEs’ passion is showcased as well as providing the larger players with access to entrepreneurs and innovation, and a concession fee or a fair profit share for their effort.

The concept works for clients in multifaceted venues such as hospitals, as well as universities and colleges, who can all benefit from giving local community-based businesses access to their venues.

Greater flexibility around non-clinical services will ultimately benefit patient care now and in the future.

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80