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NHS Supply Chain's imaging contract creates healthy picture

Thursday 8 May 2008

In just four months, NHS Supply Chain’s diagnostic imaging contract has brought great benefits to the NHS in the procurement and supply of this critical medical equipment.

In some cases medical imaging and radiology procurement times have been reduced by up to 75%, from nine to three months, and delivered savings of up to 12% as the contract between DHL and the Department of Health, the biggest of its kind in Europe, continues to deliver high quality equipment for patient care.

The medical imaging team at NHS Supply Chain has put in place a contract that enables Trusts to buy the broadest range of equipment, at extremely competitive rates, and faster than has previously been available.

The NHS spends over £360 million per annum on medical imaging equipment and maintenance. NHS Supply Chain’s strategy is to create an effective procurement framework for this expenditure and for the estimated further £300 million of non-imaging medical capital equipment, delivering value for Trusts and suppliers through better capital planning, procurement and reduced process time.

So far, over 150 individual Official Journal of European Union (OJEU) adverts have been avoided, simplifying what would otherwise be a lengthy and complicated procurement procedure, taking each trust up to nine months to complete.

Around £45 million of imaging and diagnostic equipment has been purchased in four months for trusts nationwide, comprising some 400 individual pieces of equipment The equipment ranges from MRI and CT scanners to X-Ray and Ultrasound machines.

NHS Supply Chain has received excellent customer feedback on the new framework.

Alan Kaye, Radiology Services Manager at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital Foundation Trust, comments on the reduced length of the process: “By spending less time on the procurement process we can provide patients with access to modern medical equipment much quicker. We were pleasantly surprised at the speed
of the process and the advice on offer – we wouldn’t now return to the previous way of doing things.”

Says Jason Lavery, Imaging Business Manager, of NHS Supply Chain: “We have introduced a framework contract that provides a significantly more streamlined acquisition process for the NHS. Whether it’s the latest technology equipment in MRI and CT or replacement Ultrasound Scanners, the NHS Supply Chain route offers a more effective procurement process providing extremely competitive prices. Our process still allows trusts to have high involvement in the procurement process so they can ensure they get exactly what they require.”

“Medical Imaging and Diagnostic Equipment has been a significant opportunity for us in this first phase of growth. We are working closely with the key suppliers in the market to make it easier for the NHS to do business in this area.”

The strategy is now to replicate this success for other elements of medical equipment procurement by putting in place a broad portfolio of equipment contracts on non-imaging equipment.

Just 18 months into its 10 year contract, NHS Supply Chain is well on its way to fulfilling its commitment to saving the NHS £1 billion, having saved £9 million in the first year alone.

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For further information please contact

Media Enquiries:
Sarah Jones
Head of Stakeholder Relations & Marketing Services
Tel: + 44 07771 774535

About NHS Supply Chain

NHS Supply Chain, operated by DHL, provides modern and resilient supply chain services to over 600 NHS trusts and private healthcare providers. As agent of the NHS Business Services Authority, and governed by the Department of Health, its teams help trusts make their resources go further, and focus on delivering quality patient care. NHS Supply Chain can manage the entire tender process, including Official Journal of European Union processes, and act as single point of contact between trusts and suppliers. Key services include:

  • procurement
  • supplier
  • logistics
  • Supply Chain consultancy services
  • patient services

All underpinned by world-class IT and ecommerce. The range of 600,000 in-scope products support the patient pathway: diagnosis, intervention and patient care:

  • theatres
  • nursing
  • food and facilities (including office equipment)
  • clinical markets
  • capital equipment

NHS Supply Chain HQ address: Cotes Park Industrial Estate, West Way, Alfreton, Derbyshire, DE55 4QJ
Phone: 01773 724000
Fax: 01773 724229

Based in Alfreton, Derbyshire, UK, the business employs around 1,700 staff in eight locations. For further information, visit

Delivering value to the NHS