What it takes to lead a successful procurement function


Simon Walsh, Procurement Director at Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has spoken to B Magazine about his 29 year career and the three factors that he sees as key to achieving results.

Heading up a 60-strong procurement team, Simon has taken Central Manchester from the worst performing NHS procurement department to one of the top in the country by revolutionising its procurement, taking out paper and moving to an electronic system.

After the Trust’s procurement team took on the Oracle finance and purchasing system, the department ended the days of processing paper requisitions, putting orders into envelopes and hospital staff placing paper orders.

A leader in his field, Simon is involved in the running of several external procurement and national working groups, holds regular meetings with NHS Supply Chain and the Department of Health and is involved with the Lord Carter initiative, a Government report aimed at saving the NHS £5 million.

When asked what key strengths a procurement director needs, Simon gives three attributes:


“It’s important that the head of procurement sets the standard, is a role model and reports directly to someone who is on the board of directors in order to have a connection with the decision makers and the authority to influence change.”


“All members of a procurement department need to know who the procurement director is, even if they don’t speak to or see them on a regular basis. They need to know that ultimately, they could go to the director to raise an issue or get advice.”


“A procurement director needs to be an inspirational figure while also having the ability to relate to and communicate with all members of staff.  They should remain accessible, but retain appropriate recognition of being in a leadership role.”

Read the full interview in B Magazine to find out more about what Simon sees as critical to the future of NHS procurement.

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