Clinical Expertise Helps Shape New Dynamic Framework for Diabetes Care

11 January 2022

Extensive clinical collaboration results in better patient solutions for the new Insulin Pumps, Continuous Glucose Monitoring, Closed Loop Insulin Delivery Systems and Associated Products Framework.

Diabetes and the treatment of it, is ever evolving and highly dynamic, with ongoing introductions of new technologies to the market, especially in Type 1 Diabetes. The cost of Diabetes to the NHS is 10% of the total NHS budget for England and Wales*. The unanimous feedback from a wide range of stakeholders who were engaged in the development of the new Insulin Pumps Framework, was that it must allow the NHS to be able to easily and quickly access all new technologies, products and suppliers via one platform.

To gain valuable and highly relevant insight into Diabetes care requirements, a clinical council was formed and consulted, which included key diabetic experts, including Professor Partha Kar. The outputs from this group highlighted a number of recurring issues, which needed to be resolved to enable the most advanced patient solutions and develop a specification and framework which would meet the ever-changing needs of the NHS.

Issues Identified

  • Geographically and demographically, there was a significant variation in the access to all treatment technology options that clinicians, GPs and diabetologists could offer to patients.
  • Suppliers offering a four year warranty on insulin pumps, has over time, been viewed as a ‘lock-in’ period, during which upgrades to a more suitable device from either the same or a different supplier were thought to be unavailable. This was seen as a barrier to patient choice.
  • Restrictions of having a framework in place for between two and four years, resulted in new technologies in Diabetes being slow to become available.

Solutions

  • NHS England approached NHS Supply Chain asking for support in aligning access to all technologies via one framework. As the London Procurement Partnership (LPP) framework expires in January 2022, this became an opportunity to address this, and launch a single compliant platform, that provides much needed nationwide access for all. The new framework will include 15 suppliers, which is an increase from the 6 provided on the current frameworks. This provides equity on a national basis.
  • Suppliers will continue to offer the benefit of a four year warranty for Insulin Pumps. However, should there be a requirement to move a patient to a more suitable treatment pathway, at any stage during the warranty period, this can be achieved, subject to a trust’s normal approval process. Varied purchasing solutions will be available, supplier dependant.
  • To future proof the framework, there will be a unique option to re-open it every 12 months. This will allow incumbent suppliers the opportunity to add further products into Lots which they may not have previously been awarded to. It will also allow new suppliers, not on the framework, the opportunity to bid to participate. The re-opening will not involve the removal of any suppliers currently awarded to the framework but will ultimately allow greater choice with the addition of any new suppliers and products coming into the market. This will support the highly innovative demands of the ever-changing NHS landscape and allow clinicians and patients to access all new technologies.

NHS England were keen to drive a key shift in the Type 1 Diabetes landscape-especially around technology. This is primarily based on feedback from those living with Type 1 Diabetes- and relevant clinicians- who have clearly expressed their frustrations at some of the existing structures and rules. By combining the expertise of the NHS Supply Chain procurement team and the clinical expertise of the clinical council, the team were instrumental in the development of the specification. There were 3 outcomes from the close collaboration-which hopefully will go some way to correcting some of the issues around flexibility, choice and variation.

Professor Partha Kar, Consultant in Diabetes & Endocrinology at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, National Specialty Advisor Diabetes with NHS England and co-lead of Diabetes GIRFT with NHS Improvement.

The changes to this framework have been made with the patient in mind; providing an increased level of choice that will deliver long term benefits to the NHS.

For further information on the product options available and purchasing procedures, please refer to the Insulin Pumps Contract Information page.

This direct framework launches on 7 January 2022 and runs for 24 months, ending 6 January 2024 with the option to review annually. Speak to your local Customer Relationship Manager to find out more or contact:

References:

 *www.diabetes.co.uk January 2019