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Six Trusts Across the Midlands Enhances Buying Power by Collaborating On The Fresh Food DPS Achieving Significant Savings

29 November 2023

The overall experience was seamless, and it was beneficial to work with various partners to source a new supplier that was attentive and listened to the requirements of all trusts that were involved in the collaborative tender. It was a fantastic opportunity to be able to utilise the buying power of the NHS by working with other trusts regionally, and the opportunities this brings for food procurement moving forward. The savings that will be generated as a collaborative group best utilises public money for the NHS. It would be most beneficial for other collaborative tenders to be considered, using this experience as a template to generate savings by harnessing the buying power of this approach.

Neil McGregor, Facilities Manager at Midlands Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust

Fast Facts

  • Successful collaboration between six trusts across the Midlands, the first of its kind.
  • Utilising the Fresh Food Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) helped create strong competition between suppliers.
  • This resulted in £140,000 worth of savings for participating trusts.


Using the Fresh Food DPS, NHS Supply Chain: Food has run a successful collaboration between six NHS trusts across the Midlands including University Hospitals of Derby and Burton, Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, The Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, The Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, and The University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust. Together they enhanced the NHS buying power by awarding their business for milk and dairy produce to a new regional supplier leading to fantastic savings, exceeding £140,000.

The Challenge

Over the last twelve months, there have been notable price inflations for core NHS commodities, particularly milk and dairy, which experienced the largest year over year increase of 15.3%. This uptick raised significant concerns for NHS Supply chain Food prompting efforts to tackle the issue, drive savings and see an improvement in supply services.

The Process

Upon investigation it was found that all the participating trusts were out of contract with their current suppliers, the result of this equated to rolling monthly services with no guarantee on price hold terms. Whilst reviewing current market trends and having visibility of inflation, the annualised projected savings per trusts were at an all-time low. To overcome inflation and service concerns as well as saving trusts both time and effort, NHS Supply Chain Food: brought together the six trusts over a six-month period to collaborate and agree on a specialised supplier for all milk and dairy produce including eggs, cheese, and bread.

NHS Supply Chain: Food utilised the DPS, an ‘open market’ electronic system, to help create strong competition within the Midlands region, resulting in competitive pricing and services. The DPS gives trusts access to a pool of pre-qualified suppliers that meet all requirements and enables local suppliers to tender their services. NHS Supply Chain: Food teams worked closely with all the trusts to ensure alignment and understanding around the complexities of reaching a final decision.

The Result

The collaboration exceeded over £140,000 worth of savings for the six Midlands based trusts who were pleased to have awarded an independent, family-run dairy supplier in the Midlands and beyond, who pride themselves on providing fresh, high-quality products using British Farmed Produce.

We achieved fantastic savings in a period where inflation has been a huge challenge. The project echo’s the importance of trusts working together at a regional level to boost the NHS buying power to achieve savings and introduce local SMEs. All NHS trusts are focused on improving service levels and we meet regularly to share best practice, future collaborations, and pain points, as well as attending added-value events such as the Chefs Academy.

Darren Sorrell, Food Account Manager for the Midlands, and North at NHS Supply Chain: Food

Looking Towards the Future

Due to the enormous success achieved for Dairy and Milk Produce across the Midlands, NHS Supply Chain: Food is now working on a new Fruit and Veg collaboration including four NHS trusts and is open to future fruit and veg collaborations.


If you would like to find out more about the Midlands Milk and Dairy project or participate in future collaborations, please get in touch with your Food Account Manager or contact Client Account Manager, Darren Sorrell at NHS Supply Chain: Food.

Darren Sorrell

Client Account Manager

Leicestershire and Midlands

07887 826 629