Welcome form our Acting Chief Officer Simon Walsh

This year marks the 61st Anniversary of HCSA.

Our 60th year was, of course, impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic which hit the UK in early 2020 and brought with it enormous levels of stress, pressure and loss.

It would have been unthinkable when writing the opening address for our last live event in 2019 to have had the slightest inkling of what 2020 would bring. Thankfully, our first ever virtual Winter Conference last November was a huge success, and we are extremely grateful to everyone who contributed to its success by providing content, sponsoring or attending. Without you it would not have been the fabulous event it was.

This year’s HCSA 2021 Winter Conference focus is on “Recognising the Value of NHS Procurement, and we are delighted to be able to offer a face-to-face conference once again at the Harrogate Exhibition Centre. 

Everyone at HCSA is looking forward to seeing familiar faces again as well many new ones as we strive to increase our membership to 3061 by the time of the event. We are also running a membership competition which you can find on our website, so please take part.

In 2020 and 2021, NHS procurement has faced the most challenging period of supply and logistic pressures in its history, and through this conference we want to highlight some of the fantastic achievements that were made under such trying circumstances.

We have a superb line-up of speakers who are aligned to key topical and emerging themes, while several workshops have been put together to stimulate interaction and debate.

While the format this year returns to our traditional two-day live event – with our Gala Awards Dinner on the second night – we are also providing a hybrid experience by streaming some elements of the content so that those who are unable to travel or take time away from the office can view the content online. This format will ensure as many delegates as possible can attend.

In terms of this year’s content, COVID-19 has put procurement and supply chains centre stage; over the coming years, as we see digital transformation evolve, we must consider how the workforce can adapt and up-skill to be ready for new technology solutions – and the updates from our guest speakers will showcase this.

We must also consider sustainability, with the phenomenal rise in PPE highlighting the impact of disposable products on our planet. We will continue to consider and study eco-friendly alternatives and will be bringing the latest updates to the conference along with showcasing more of the critical role that our clinical procurement colleagues play in supporting the day-to-day choices of essential products across the NHS.

So, please enjoy this year’s Winter Conference, take in the live atmosphere and content, network with colleagues, learn new things and soak up the information provided.  

And if you can’t be there in person, make sure you sign up for the hybrid event and watch from the comfort of your own home or office. We will aim to ensure you return to your organisation energised and positive for the future of NHS procurement.

Simon Walsh

Acting Chief Officer HCSA

 24 + 25 November 2021

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