By Phil Dring, Head of Sales at Solutions Asset Finance
This year’s winter pressures are expected to be more challenging than ever, as the combination of Covid, flu and the backlog of elective surgery is set to place even more pressure on already stretched public services.
As the NHS prepares for winter pressures by investing in thousands more beds and recruiting more staff, suppliers across the UK have their own role to play. By ensuring medical equipment is attainable to Trusts and private medical practices, suppliers can support the healthcare sector’s future resilience by helping them ensure they have the additional capacity needed to respond to rising pressures in the colder months.
However, it is not just the ongoing Covid-related backlog of surgical procedures placing pressure on our health service at the moment. The introduction of the IFRS16 change, which has introduced a single lessee accounting model, requiring an individual to recognise assets and liabilities for all leases with a term of more than 12 months, also presents significant challenges for the healthcare sector.
With NHS winter pressures anticipated to again be considerable, it is more important than ever for them to have the most efficient medical equipment to help benefit clinical pathways and improve patient care.
This is where flexible finance facilities can help promote the procurement of much-needed equipment, helping hospitals and medical practices ensure operational resilience during the winter months and beyond.
Presenting a viable solution for suppliers and end-users alike, the introduction of an alternative equipment procurement that doesn’t require large sums of upfront capital investment is an attractive option for budget-constrained medical providers.
Flexible finance unlocks the option to spread the overall investment cost over time, allowing for additional tax benefits in certain situations.
What are winter pressures?
Each year, the NHS experiences a period of significant additional pressure due to seasonal illnesses and respiratory conditions that the colder months tend to bring. The increase in colds, flu and norovirus all result in increased demand for NHS services, placing extra pressure on their day-to-day services and causing an increase in waiting times.
These ongoing winter pressures combined with the significant backlog of patient care [SS1] in the UK, means public and private sector collaboration [CB2] will be key to overcoming the anticipated seasonal surges this year.
This year, additional pressures caused by the rising cost of living crisis are expected to exacerbate the challenges associated with seasonal surges. Local NHS and social care services will likely bear the brunt of this through increased hospital admissions alongside elevated demand for GP surgeries, A&E departments, ambulances, care homes and more.
With an increased demand for services seemingly inevitable, it begs the question: how can suppliers ensure their equipment is attainable and affordable for healthcare providers facing budget cuts and increasing pressures? One way is to offer alternative methods of procurement through flexible finance and additional commercial expertise.
What is flexible finance?
As healthcare providers across the UK face increasing budget constraints, suppliers are turning to alternative funding options to help facilitate more orders, making their equipment attainable through a cashflow-based procurement solution.
Flexible finance offers an attractive procurement route for medical practices, local day surgery providers and NHS Trusts needing new equipment, benefiting from the state-of-the-art equipment immediately, without the need for significant upfront capital.
SAF design funding structures that are created to suit the specific requirements of the customer, their particular financial drivers and accounting treatment. Repayment profiles can range from a period of 12 months to ten years, depending on the nature of the equipment, and the budget available to the customer.
What are the benefits of flexible finance?
Flexible finance brings multiple benefits for suppliers and end-users alike, and can play a central role in helping healthcare providers to overcome the challenges presented by NHS winter pressures.
For suppliers, providing finance options should be a core element of your sales strategy. A finance solution helps ensure all customers in the healthcare sector can access market-leading equipment and overcome the challenges posed by ongoing winter pressures without the need to secure significant budgets to fund the investment.
The benefits of flexible finance include:
- Monthly repayment agreements to help make your equipment more attainable and affordable to the healthcare sector.
- Bespoke payment plans are designed to meet the specific financial drivers of each customer, ensuring the cost of investment fits with the budgetary aims of the customer and the period for which the equipment is required.
- Flexible finance packages can speed up the procurement process resulting in quicker order timeframes for the suppliers and quicker delivery turnarounds for the customer.
- The latest technology means greater efficiency of service, allowing medical providers to treat more patients and helping ensure improved patient outcomes this winter.
Sales teams who present leasing and alternative funding options to their clients can offer a more varied and robust set of procurement solutions which can help strengthen a customer’s internal business case.
As energy costs and inflation continue to impact the private sector and NHS capital budgets continue to be stretched, the opportunity for healthcare providers to better utilise their capital budgets will be a welcome addition and could be instrumental in helping close more transactions and build stronger customer relationships.
Flexible finance provides a new way for suppliers to market their medical equipment to customers this winter, which in turn will help boost sales and ensure a consistent revenue stream during challenging times. This alternative procurement method also offers suppliers the comfort of knowing they are helping healthcare providers procure industry-leading medical equipment during a time when they need it most.
Offering flexible finance packages to your customer base shows an awareness and understanding of the current financial complexities many sectors are facing and offers an attractive alternative solution to their challenges.
Our bespoke finance packages are designed to reflect the needs and challenges of each customer, ensuring we can support their goals and requirements within an affordable and sustainable funding structure.
What’s more, with over 15 years of experience, SAF acts as an extension of your sales team, creating a bespoke branded finance solution and supporting them every step of the way to open up new opportunities and close more sales. Find out more about how we’ve supported others in the procurement of over £300 million worth of medical equipment across the UK: https://saf-solutions.com/project/