Foodbuy had the chance to take a deep dive into some of the pressing issues facing healthcare sector in a discussion with Leta Hill Executive Vice President Compass One & COE EVS Centre of Excellence in the healthcare space.

While the Foodservice and Hospitality sectors try to battle back form a post covid hangover, Healthcare is also facing significant issues with added storm clouds forming on the horizon. Like the other sectors, staffing has become THE issue in Healthcare. News reports have outlined the demands for increased wages and the need for more staff coming into the pipeline. The usual retirement turnover is not being replaced fast enough and many healthcare works are simply leaving the sector due to the high stresses that came throughout COVID and continue through the post COVID period. Add in general inflationary costs, with opposing flat budgets, the system is being stretched to the breaking point.

Hill points out; “You have hospitals that are closing emergency rooms at certain times, or they don’t open floors because they can’t staff them. Much of this can link back to what’s happening in a long-term care. The ratios of funding for long term care were insufficient to begin with. And now, you have people whose health conditions that have been exacerbated because they we not able to receive early treatment and intervention through Covid. The strain is impacting the entire system. Our clients are under huge financial pressures and have an impossible balancing act at this point in time”.

What Hill is seeing is that Healthcare Managers are looking at how they efficiently cut costs and not impact clinical services. Hill says; “I had one client that said the greatest thing that you can give me right now is finding time… Because there is not enough staff to fill all the time slots we need. We need time for the clinicians to be able to do what they need to do as there are fewer clinical resources.”

Though the SGP and Foodbuy partnership along with the Compass Group, we investigate what our programs can do to support of these efforts. And/or, what can be identified that is causing waste in a system. We look to help remove the waste. Either waste of resources, waste in the supply chain, and how can help provide staffing support. Particularly through the 24/7 period because in order to get workers to come to work, you need availability of food for staff to eat 24/7.

Hill outlines the goal; “Our main goal now is, how can we improve productivity without compromising quality. Or, provide service for less, so it costs our clients less. We look to leverage our vast network and procurement weight to help reduce costs. If our clients have any money to invest, whether they’re long-term care clients or acute care clients, the aim is for them to invest it in direct clinical services. Vs support services. We are looking at the system as a whole and seeing where the opportunities are in a day of a patient. As an example, where can we take waste and cost out of the system.”

Some provinces are looking to reduce outsourcing and are trying to undertake all operations internally. Hill’s view is that this ultimately comes at a cost to the taxpayer. We have years of experience in these areas. A staff member (nurse) probably has limited experience. Its not just the staff but systems are needed to ensure standardization, quality, and innovation is being pursued. That is what we do!”

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