In his latest blog, group sales director, Simon Ward, explains how Grahame Gardner has forged a strong working relationship with the NHS.

Grahame Gardner has a long tradition of supplying uniforms to NHS Trusts throughout the UK. By the time the NHS was created in 1948 our business had already been successfully supplying clothing for over 40 years. When I first began working for Grahame Gardner Ltd some 25 years ago the more senior staff would delight in recounting tales of their dealings with the NHS and how they built such long lasting relationships.

The NHS is renowned throughout the world for its quality of care, but there is little doubt that the most valuable asset our NHS uniformshealth service possesses is its staff….all 1.5m of them! We are proud to come into contact with these people on a daily basis and they are a committed bunch, with only the interests of patients at heart. As a uniform supplier we believe that they deserve to be uniformed in a manner that befits their status.

Of course an organisation of such scale is always going to face challenges and change. We have witnessed many of these and we too have to adapt to ensure that our supply of uniforms is delivered in a manner that fits the requirements of the Health Service and its staff.

We have seen budgets and decision making shift from within individual departments to central purchasing. Collaborations between Trusts are common and Purchasing Consortiums have also become important when dealing with the NHS. More recently framework agreements have increased in prevalence.

As a supplier we must tender a bid to attain a place on a framework agreement supplier list. The scoring mechanism may differ but essentially the tender will be awarded on criteria including price, quality of service, ethical trading and corporate and social responsibility.

This competitive process can be quite arduous, however it does ensure that Trusts can be confident that, when purchasing from Grahame Gardner Ltd, they are dealing with a business that understands the NHS and is committed to providing garments that are perfectly suited to the daily demands of the healthcare professional.

Next year will mark the 70th Anniversary of the NHS and I am sure we will see the National Health Service evolve in the years to come. We will watch with interest and be ready to respond accordingly with new designs and ideas of how to best serve this most respected of organisations.