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Cambridge University Hospitals: Procurement improvement

Innovative procurement drives an additional £10 million in annual savings for Cambridge University Hospitals.


Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUH) is one of the UK’s foremost teaching trusts. Accenture’s procurement best practices and clinical insight have, in combination with the Trust’s own clinical and procurement expertise, helped Cambridge University Hospitals achieve significant incremental procurement savings and move closer to meeting CIP targets.

Costs are climbing steeply, the UK’s population is getting older and more prone to chronic diseases. In the midst of this, extensive structural reform brings with it targeted savings of £20 billion over four years. CUH is a foundation trust, and is therefore given a certain degree of management and budgetary autonomy, which could be at risk if it fails to meet its cost savings targets.


Accenture helped the trust’s procurement team deliver incremental savings by bringing additional procurement and clinical expertise into CUH and helping to broaden engagement with procurement throughout the Trust. This was done using best practices from the private sector to develop a tailored cost reduction strategy.

  • Managing clinical engagement, acceptance of change and innovative tendering

  • Supplier engagement and collaboration

  • Standardisation of products, suppliers and services

  • Demand and waste management, review of inventory and utilisation

  • Optimising and renewing product specifications

  • Redesign of processes for ordering and receipting, centralising visibility and control

  • A spend analysis identified 14 specific spend categories to be targeted. Expenditure was reduced through:


Annual savings of more than £10 million have been realised for CUH. In subsequent work at the Trust, Accenture helped conceive a wider transformation project that has delivered more than £50 million in annual savings from its general operating budget over two financial years. The projects have, cumulatively, enabled CUH to hit targeted savings while maintaining its philosophy of patient-centric healthcare.