£130 million investment in radiotherapy equipment

21 May 2019

Radiotherapy equipment has been replaced or upgraded in 38 cancer centres following a successful partnership between NHS England and NHS Supply Chain.

Linear Accelerators are the main treatment system for external beam radiotherapy. Due to a lack of central investment since the early 2000s, over 100 systems were over the recommended 10-year life span or in need of upgrade. Significant investment was required to ensure that patients across England had access to treatment using the latest technology.

NHS England secured a £130 million Radiotherapy Modernisation Fund to replace and upgrade these systems over three years and chose to work with NHS Supply Chain to procure them. In doing so they benefited from a compliant framework and savings available via bulk deals with Accuray International, Sarl, Elekta Ltd, and Varian Medical Systems UK Ltd, maximising the use of the available funding.

NHS England and NHS Supply Chain worked together to determine:

  • which trusts needed new systems
  • when the systems were due for replacement
  • any gaps in capability.

A working group was established with representatives from NHS Supply Chain, NHS England and the Clinical Consultation Group to ensure that funding was distributed fairly amongst trusts. NHS Supply Chain then worked with trusts and suppliers to determine the required specifications and related pricing. In addition, the radiotherapy team at NHS Supply Chain assisted trusts with their funding applications and engaged with members of the Clinical Consultation Group to evaluate bids against the specification.

The project was undertaken within very strict timescales and the team had to react quickly in order to meet them. We were therefore very pleased to help secure the best value for trusts and an improved service for patients.Tracy Bagnall, Senior Buyer for Radiotherapy
NHS Supply Chain

By knowing the amount of funding available and the level of demand in the market, NHS Supply Chain were able to plan bulk deals three years in advance and commit to increased system volumes. This in turn achieved maximum savings of £17.1 million, with 69 Linear Accelerators scheduled for replacement over three years.

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Media Enquiries:

Jennie Brice

Corporate Communications Manager

Joanna Morrison

Head of Public Affairs and PR

Notes to Editors:

About NHS Supply Chain

All information in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

NHS Supply Chain supports the National Health Service (NHS) and other healthcare organisations in England and Wales by providing end to end supply chain solutions.

NHS Supply Chain is managed by Supply Chain Co-ordination Ltd, a limited company wholly owned by the Department of Health and Social Care. The management function went live on 1 April 2018 and manages the performance of the 11 category tower service providers along with the logistics and IT providers.

NHS Supply Chain manages the sourcing, delivery and supply of healthcare products and food for NHS trusts and healthcare organisations. It provides a single point of access to over 316,000 nationally available, transactable lines ranging from bandages to sutures, from gloves to implants, and surgical equipment. In addition, it can help plan investments in medical capital equipment such as MRI scanners, linear accelerators and patient monitors.

Its management of the procurement process negates an NHS organisation’s need to tender through the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU). Costs can also be reduced through its one-route solution that consolidates all products onto one invoice and delivery.

To ensure that its products are fit for today’s healthcare market, NHS Supply Chain works with suppliers of all sizes to ensure its range embraces high quality and innovative products; and engages with clinicians, the Department of Health and Social Care and academic institutions to make sure that it is aware of the current requirements and latest developments in clinical practice.

NHS Supply Chain’s product areas (Category Towers) include:

  • Ward Based Consumables
  • Sterile Intervention Equipment and Associated Consumables
  • Infection Control and Wound Care
  • Orthopaedics, Trauma and Spine and Ophthalmology
  • Rehabilitation, Disabled Services, Women’s Health and Associated Consumables
  • Cardiovascular, Radiology, Endoscopy, Audiology and Pain Management
  • Large Diagnostic Capital Equipment including Mobile and Services
  • Diagnostic, Pathology and Therapy Technologies and Services
  • Office Solutions
  • Food
  • Hotel Services

www.supplychain.nhs.uk