Chief Procurement Officer, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust
With over 20 years at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust (Guy’s and St Thomas’), David Lawson, Chief Procurement Officer, leads the procurement team for hospitals across London, UK, including Lewisham and Greenwich, South London and Maudsley, and Great Ormond Street.
Lawson has a long track record of supply chain innovation and is a double winner of the Supply Chain Excellence Award, first in 2008 for setting up a new just-in-time service model and again in 2021 with the river cargo pilot. Previously in his career, he worked as a procurement advisor to the Department of Social Security and the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions, before settling into a long-term position as the procurement lead for Guy’s and St Thomas’.
Lawson and his team held crucial roles in the COVID-19 response and continue to develop the Trust’s supply chain through the procurement shared services. Some of the key targets of the team are to better manage NHS spending on digital solutions, logistics, and consumables, providing efficiency gains for healthcare staff and sustainability benefits for the overall organisation.
Lawson says: “Over the years, we've expanded the scope of the team initially into strategic sourcing, then into supply chain management, and in 2017, we set up a procurement shared service. So, we expanded the scope beyond the four walls of the hospital building the team from twenty staff in 2001 to over two hundred today.”
Over the past few years, he has taken great pride in supporting the procurement team at Guy’s and St Thomas’s to implement procurement projects and meet the high demands of the organisation. This includes the £2bn South East London Pathology Programme, which resulted in the transformation of one of healthcare’s most critical services, and the £10bn Increased Capacity Framework Agreement on behalf of NHS England.
Liaising with the right companies for procurement success
With such high demands from the NHS, Lawson oversees sourcing from its suppliers and is on a mission to create strategic partnerships with companies that share similar values. Sustainability, efficiency, and supporting patient care are of high importance to the team as it works with organisations like Apogee, CEVA Logistics, Banner, and Boston Scientific.
The SmartTogether procurement shared service that was established by the Trust allows Lawson to manage procurement operations between various hospitals and NHS suppliers, implementing centralised contracts through these suppliers and driving process improvement.
“It's very much driven by other hospitals around us asking for procurement expertise. The way that we are set up is much around providing that onsite dedicated support,” says Lawson.
He continues: “We have dedicated procurement directors for each member Trust to ensure we maintain close engagement, but then that's combined with central corporate teams looking at sourcing, systems and supply chain expertise as well.”
“Post-COVID, we’re now trying to learn from the experience of COVID-19 and understand the benefits in the sense of being able to make changes for the good and to use that as the catalyst for more change.”
Take care of quality early: work with your suppliers, understand what can be done, put controls in place to minimise risks, lock down a process, and you will set yourself up for success.