Meet the experts: How contract management experience helps Matthew give customers a system-wide perspective

Matthew Parry began his varied career in the early 1990s in NHS finance and general management before moving to management in general surgery and urology. He left the NHS to work for a company developing waiting list management software before returning to the NHS as a contract manager at a clinical commissioning group (CCG). He has also worked as a contract manager in the acute sector and as a result this wealth of experience is a significant benefit for Dr Foster’s customers.

Matthew Parry, Senior Consultant

Working for acute trusts and a commissioner brings a system perspective

When I worked as a contract manager at Nene CCG, I was negotiating and maintaining contracts to manage activity from acute sector providers. This experience was useful when I worked at Kettering General Hospital in a similar role because I saw the other side of contract management. I enjoyed getting to grips with contract details and helping departments in the hospital understand what they were being paid for and was managing around £180m worth of contracts with the CCG. This meant having to translate national and local contracts into a language that could be understood by each service and what the implications were for them in terms of how they delivered and recorded their activity. So, when for example, the Trauma and Orthopaedics department wanted to set up a ‘virtual’ fracture clinic to reduce burden on outpatient and Trauma & Orthopaedics services whilst improving the patient experience, I had to negotiate with the CCG and demonstrate that there was real value as opposed to allowing them to see this as a cost improvement exercise.

Putting NHS contracting experience to work at Dr Foster

My career so far has given me a good insight into NHS contracting and an up-to-date understanding of how CCGs pay for acute sector activity.  This means that when customers ask us for a detailed analysis, I can help them to see the what our findings mean from a different perspective. We can take a wider view which looks at the whole system and helps them unpick where their biggest challenges are.

This experience has enabled me to support both acute providers and CCGs with workstreams and projects in a different way, for example suggesting using a different approach to length of stay analysis linked to market share to help a trust understand the impact that demand can have on their resources across the health system.

Attention to detail brings benefits

My attention to detail is something else that brings benefits for Dr Foster customers. Our tools provide a useful insight, but there may be some areas, such as trends in activity outside the trust, which are overlooked. I often find myself in a position where I can offer in-depth insight and provide an additional piece of analysis which helps to explain a trend that others may have missed. It’s not surprising that with so many indicators to monitor, information departments and medical directors find they don’t have the time to look at the data in this way.

This means that when customers ask us for a detailed analysis, I can help them to see the what our findings mean from a different perspective. We can take a wider view which looks at the whole system and helps them unpick where their biggest challenges are.