Purchasing and Supplies: Company representatives

Policy statement

We appreciate the role that current and potential suppliers play in supporting our staff by providing safe, effective, and economic products and services to you, the patient, and other staff. It is the policy of the Trust, therefore, to ensure that an effective, efficient, and consistent approach is adopted in developing excellent relationships with the Trust’s current and potential suppliers and their representatives.

See our Company Representatives Policy (pdf, 28KB)

Procedure for commercial representatives and suppliers visiting clinical areas

It is recognised that in addition to providing valuable information to health care professionals, the prime function of representatives is to promote and sell their products and services. This function should be carried out in a proper and ethical manner and must not contravene Trust, NHS or Government policies. To develop and maintain good working relationships with our suppliers, we ask that company representatives adhere to the following:

1. Whilst on hospital property, supplier/sales representatives will conduct themselves in a business-like manner at all times.

2. Identification badges must be obtained from the information desk in the main entrance before visiting any clinical area and the visitors book must be completed. Identification badges must be returned to the information desk in the main entrance before leaving the site.

3. Trust staff will only see suppliers or their representatives wearing an identification badge. If suppliers or their representatives appear in hospital departments without an identification badge, the department will send them back to the main entrance to get one.

4. To ensure minimal disruption to hospital services, all supplies/sales representatives are required to make an appointment with the personnel they wish to meet in advance of their visit. Representatives may not enter any clinical area (including wards, laboratories, and outpatients areas) without an appointment.

5. Representatives may only seek appointments where there is a valid reason for the visit, eg. to meet with medical staff or departmental managers or for an educational open meeting.

6. The Purchasing and Supplies Department and senior staff reserve the right to refuse to meet representatives who do not have a confirmed appointment. The representative will be asked to make another appointment through the department or senior member of staff.

7. Representatives are not permitted to meet with junior staff (junior clinical staff include medical staff below the level of specialist registrar and nursing staff below grade F) on an individual basis but may meet with a group. The emphasis of such a meeting must be educational and not exclusively promotional.

8. Company representatives must keep Purchasing and Supplies regularly informed when senior clinical staff have been seen, including visits made when checking product usage.

9. Samples of consumables and clinical products must not be left with wards and departments. They should be sent to the Clinical Products Advisor/ Purchasing and Supplies Department for discussion at the Product Evaluation Group and evaluation within the Trust.

10. A control register of consumable items, excluding drugs, nutritional supplements, and laboratory consumables, is maintained in the Purchasing and Supplies Department and evaluations are undertaken with the agreement of the relevant department managers.

11. Commitment to purchase goods and services is only entered into by the raising of an official Trust Purchase Order. Suppliers must not deliver goods or provide a service without first receiving an official Trust Purchase Order.

12. No commercial agreement may be entered into without full involvement of the Supplies Department, with the exception of Pharmacy and Estates Departments with delegated responsibility.

13. Where negotiations are initiated by the departmental manager, in liaison with the Supplies Department, it remains the responsibility of the Supplies Department to secure the best contract terms and to finalise commercial agreements.

14. Unsolicited mail, leaflets and posters produced by suppliers may not be distributed or displayed in clinical areas unless approved by the departmental manager/clinician.

15. Only inexpensive gifts such as pens, pads, diaries etc. which are relevant to work may be offered or given to hospital staff. Co-operation and observation of the guidelines will be mutually beneficial. Contravention could be self-defeating and could consequently impair your company as an acceptable supplier to the Trust.

If you have any queries regarding this policy please contact:
Claire Davidson, Clinical Products Advisor

Staff member moving boxes.

Purchasing & Supplies
The Furze,
Hillingdon Hospital