Logistics companies are the backbone of the healthcare distribution industry, as without their support vital medical supplies would not reach their intended user.
The support offered to the health service by professional logistics companies is vital to its smooth-running, and without the storage and transportation facilities on offer, Primary Care Trusts may not be able to provide the much-needed delivery service to patients and hospitals, on cost grounds alone.
A flexible service
Many professional logistics companies offer tailored support packages, but are also flexible enough to meet the varying demands of healthcare distribution.
By using this type of logistics solution, Primary Care Trusts and Health Boards may have at their disposal:
- A nationwide network of warehousing facilities in which to store temperature-sensitive medicines
- A wide range of transportation solutions, from large articulated lorries to small vans
- A fleet of plain white vans to discreetly deliver medical supplies to patients in their own homes
- Strategically-located storage facilities close to ports, airports and the motorway network, to enable efficient collection and delivery of supplies
- Support packages tailored to the specific needs of the healthcare industry
- Specially-trained and CRB-checked delivery drivers and administration staff
Any or all of the above provide an efficient, cost-effective solution to the unique logistical problems encountered by the health service in this country.
The issue of confidentiality
As technology advances, the issue of confidentiality within the healthcare industry becomes harder to control. Making deliveries of sensitive medical supplies to patients in their own homes involves the need for discretion in terms of the vehicles used, and also the staff making the delivery.
Strict confidentiality guidelines outlined in the Caldicott Report of 1997 need to be adhered to, in order to gain the trust of both health professionals and patients. Professional logistics firms should understand this concern, and train their staff to maintain strict patient confidentiality at all times.
At a company level this might mean using plain white vans to deliver medical supplies to patients at home, whilst individual staff members need to be aware of the rights of patients in terms of upholding confidentiality, and respecting their right to privacy when making a delivery.
Without the support of experienced, competent logistics firms, healthcare distribution in the UK would be an onerous and expensive headache for the health service, which would eventually impact on vulnerable patients.
By having access to the flexible logistics support offered by experienced and reputable firms, Primary Care Trusts and Health Boards in this country can offer a high-quality service to patients and hospitals without compromising their own financial budgets.