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NHS hearing aid contract relaunched: more choice, technology and savings

Wednesday 7 July 2010

  • Savings on average of up to 13% on previous prices available for trusts across the contract
  • Wider selection of choice available to trusts
  • Solutions available for paediatrics and adults

NHS Supply Chain’s renewed hearing aid and accessories contract that launches on 1 August offers innovative technology, and more choice.

With collaboration from the Department of Health (DH) and patient groups, it is the most thorough tender exercise that NHS Supply Chain has undertaken on hearing aids and accessories.

All suppliers were put through a rigorous evaluation process by representatives from the DH and NHS Supply Chain’s Audiology Supply Group (ASG).

The first stage of the contract’s evaluation saw each hearing aid scrutinised on its output, ergonomics and technology by the ASG. Each supplier was also invited to present and answer comprehensive questions about their products.

Carol Callister from NHS Supply Chain said, “The original contract ran for seven years and had two partners. We wanted to open up the market and expand the range of suppliers so that a wider offering will be available from August. We urge NHS trusts to contact their account managers to find out what new products are available and what percentage of savings can be achieved for their particular trust”.

This approach has led to a much broader supply base including the top five manufacturers in the industry. Oticon, Siemens, Phonak, GN Resound and Starkey have all been awarded places on the contract, as well as a number of other suppliers for niche and speciality products including accessories and sundries. These contracts have been awarded to: Better Life Healthcare,International Packaging Corporation, Oto-Tech, PC Werth Ltd, Panasonic Healthcare, Puretone Ltd and RR Donnelley Global Document Solutions.

In addition to the standard behind the ear (BTE) models, we have a wider offering which includes in the ear (ITE), in the canal (ITC) and receiver in the ear (RITE) products. Some of the new benefits that come with these products include: more sizes; different programmes to help users hear better depending on their environment; and improved functionality e.g. remote controls and blue tooth to enable users to programme their mobile phone and iPods.

With a wider selection of hearing aids available, including solutions for children as well as adults, NHS Supply Chain has strived to reduce the price of products on the contract. By NHS Supply Chain’s calculations we have estimated that NHS trusts can now save on average up to 13% on previous prices.

NHS Supply Chain will be highlighting benefits of the new contract at today’s Department of Health’s National Audiology Conference, where you can find out more about the products on offer and improved benefits for NHS trusts.


Media enquiries:
Jayesha Mistry
07738 071 826

Notes to editors

About NHS Supply Chain
NHS Supply Chain is a government contract operated by DHL since 2006. It supports the National Health Service (NHS) and other healthcare organisations in England and Wales by providing end to end supply chain solutions.

The organisation was formed from the NHS Logistics Authority and parts of the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency (NHS PASA). It is operated by DHL on behalf of the NHS Business Services Authority and aims to provide over £1 billion of savings to the NHS by 2016.

The NHS Supply Chain contract manages the sourcing, delivery and supply of healthcare products and food for over 1,000 NHS trusts and healthcare organisations. It provides a single point of access to over 500,000 products ranging from bandages to sutures, from gloves to implants, and even diagnostic equipment such as MRI scanners. 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 – this saves up to £1 per product in back office administration costs and removes up to 60 deliveries going into a trust compared with ordering goods separately.

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 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 include:

  • theatres
  • dental
  • audiology
  • catering, including food
  • infection control
  • orthopaedics
  • rehabilitation
  • capital equipment, including finance and maintenance.

Based in Alfreton, Derbyshire, UK, the business employs around 2,400 staff in eight locations.