The ongoing shockwaves from pandemic lockdowns are not letting up.
In the UK alone, 7 million people are awaiting treatment on the NHS, up from 6.8 million in July and the highest on record.
Prof Martin Marshall, head of the Royal College of GPs council said, “this is the worst I’ve ever seen in my career”.
Alastair McLellan, the Health Service Journal’s editor agrees: “This is the worst – except for next year which will be even worse.”
NHS Workforce statistics show that in the first half of 2021, NHS resignations for health-related reasons rose 30% year-on-year, from 2,559 in the first six months of 2020-21 to 3,328 in 2021-22.
And this mass resignation of medical staff, including doctors - is by no means confined to the UK.
The latest WHO statistics show that as of 2020, over 55% of WHO Member States report to have less than 20 medical doctors per 10,000 population (almost 40 countries in the WHO African region)
The WHO website states: “Health workers are distributed unevenly across the globe.
“Countries with the lowest relative need have the highest numbers of health workers, while those with the greatest burden of disease must make do with a much smaller health workforce.”
The WHO goes on to say that, “the African Region suffers more than 22% of the global burden of disease but has access to only 3% of health workers and less than 1% of the world’s financial resources.”
One of the main reasons for both this mass resignation, and in many cases, the ingrained strain on global medical staff, concerns the burden of workloads - leading to stress, occupational fatigue and burnout.
Of course, this debilitating and consequential stress is by no means confined to healthcare staff, as we see the trend also taking its toll on procurement staff across the supply chain.
Technology can help ease the burden on global Healthcare
There is an important intersection between the medical and the procurement world.
For example, clinical trials - which are the backbone of medical progress, and therefore of human well-being - are also being heavily impacted by the pandemic’s fall-out, (that is, by increasing strains on the workforce), and so it’s vital to procure medical supplies so that the quality of life is secured and enhanced on a global scale.
In terms of easing the burden on medical staff, and aside from procuring materials and supplies for trials, medical technology (MedTech) can play an important role towards this outcome.
By allowing for things like increased workflow, automating time-consuming processes, allowing for collaboration, data transparency and insight, MedTech can play a central role in easing medical burdens across the planet.
Employing technologies in the medical world - even for things like digitising medical contracts - can allow for things like contract intelligence, and advanced contract lifecycle management, which, although seemingly stripped of the flesh and blood at the heart of medical considerations, are actually very important components that attach to every medical transaction globally.
The quicksilver landscape of procurement and supply chains in the face of medical developments on a global scale is a strong argument of employing medical technologies wherever possible.
The red blood cannot be separated from the red tape, and so systems that can automate these time-consuming processes can have hugely positive impacts directly on human lives.
Zooming back into the UK to illustrate the point, NHS Supply Chain states: “The landscape for Procurement and Supply Chain has changed, creating a need for a broader range of priorities in our decision making.
“This includes total cost, environmental impact, supply chain resilience, social value, quality, flexibility, and availability.
“This broader focus requires a different approach in how we develop and add new capabilities.”