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Improving the supply of continence products to patients

Monday 18 January 2010

NHS Supply Chain’s centralised operation helps PCTs efficiently treat continence patients

Managing the treatment of continence patients will become easier and more efficient from today as NHS Supply Chain enhances its home delivery service (HDS).

As the leading continence home delivery service in England, HDS will allow Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) to control the entire supply process through a dedicated online portal called HDSOnline.

Patients’ orders can be tracked on HDSOnline from the placement of an order right through to the delivery vehicle’s location via GPS. It also provides PCTs with financial and service reports to support back office staff and securely manages continence patient records on their behalf.

Stacie Croxton, Head of Home Delivery Services says, “We have redeveloped the service and improved its infrastructure to provide benefits for both trusts and patients.

“Trusts can rely on our streamlined process to fulfil all their continence product requirements through one channel, and patients will benefit from the wide product range and personalised service.”

“Our service gives PCTs the peace of mind that the patient is getting the most appropriate product when they need it,” continues Stacie. “They can check at the touch of button if deliveries have been made through HDSOnline’s electronic proof of delivery facility.

“And we also ensure that the patients’ needs are fulfilled so that they have full confidence in our service. All our drivers are CRB checked and we endeavour to provide them with the same driver each time, usually from the local area.”

Dealing with incontinence costs the NHS around £80 million* per year in product costs, and with an ageing population the need for such a resource is rising.

NHS Supply Chain understands that product choice is a very important decision and offers a wide range of pull-up, washable and disposable pads at the best price so that individual healthcare needs can be supported.

All products have been carefully evaluated and tested by clinicians and end-users through NHS Supply Chain’s Task Force programme to ensure that they are fit for purpose in today’s healthcare environment.

To reduce waste, patients can call the dedicated customer service team to let them know when they need deliveries and to arrange collection of any unused products. This will enable PCTs to make savings through reductions on product wastage.
NHS Supply Chain’s specialist team makes the implementation of the service effortless. They manage the transfer of patient data, assist with product selection and deliver comprehensive support and training programmes.

Concludes Stacie, “The improved service will provide patients with a service they can trust and PCTs with a best value long term solution they can rely on.”

The enhanced service will operate from a centralised warehouse in Corby, Northamptonshire and offer:

  • Electronic proof of delivery and track-and-trace via GPS integrated into ordering system
  • A returns service to reduce wastage
  • Easy-to-use online service for management of orders
  • Delivery to patients’ homes and care homes, regardless of location
  • Unbranded delivery vehicles for patient discretion
  • Wide choice of products from leading suppliers
  • Support and product training supplied by NHS Supply Chain and its suppliers


Notes to editors

HDS background

Dealing with incontinence costs the NHS around £80 million* per year in product costs, and with an ageing population the need for such a resource is rising. NHS Supply Chain’s Home Delivery Service (HDS) helps
Primary Care Trust’s (PCTs) manage the care of incontinence patients efficiently, effectively and with dignity
at home. NHS Supply Chain supports 33% of NHS Primary Care Trust spend through the Home Delivery Service, making NHS Supply Chain the single largest provider of continence care products direct to patients homes in the English NHS. NHS Supply Chain has established itself as the market leader through a flexible service offering high standards of patient service and world class e-systems. HDS standards are monitored by the NHS Businesses Services Authority on behalf of the NHS. Home delivery is defined as delivery to Patients in care or residential homes and patients residing in their own homes.

HDS offers:

  • Leading patient management system developed by the NHS
  • Widest product choice from leading brands
  • Highest specification of delivery service provided
  • Flexible customer service options with bespoke service provision
  • Products evaluated by clinicians and end-users through Task Force programme
  • Strong supplier partnerships, with product training and support


  • Market leading patient management service developed for the NHS
  • Web based application maintained by NHS Supply Chain with no cost to the PCT for licenses, maintenance or software
  • Developed in line with Caldicott guidelines it currently supports over 230,000 patient records across 50 PCTs.

Supports PCTs on three levels

  • patient management – holding of patient clinical records, including clinical notes, medical condition, GP and nurse assessor details and prescription details
  • ordering and delivery – using the clinical information, orders can be automatically generated. The nurse can provide delivery instructions for the driver, track and trace functionality is available along with patient level order history information
  • financial and service reporting – online access to comprehensive financial reports (calculated on NHS financial periods)

* Specific cost of continence pads (Euromonitor, 1999)

  • By 2033, 23 per cent of the population will be aged 65 and over.
  • It is estimated that up to 6 million people experience continence problems in the UK. All cases are different and require tailored treatment for each patient.
  • Over the past three years continence care has seen a 9% increase in patient numbers.

For more information please contact
Andrew Brentnall on 01773 724196 or at

About NHS Supply Chain

NHS Supply Chain is operated by DHL on behalf of the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA). Its aim is to provide over £1 billion of savings to the NHS so that resources are released for customers to focus on quality frontline patient care, manage costs and achieve sustainable value. NHS Supply Chain provides its services to over 600 NHS trusts and private healthcare providers and offers over 620,000 products. It manages the entire supply chain process for medical consumables - from the sourcing of products, right through to their delivery and supply.

Key services include:

By ordering through NHS Supply Chain, trusts negate the need to tender themselves through EU processes (OJEU). This saves trusts time and money on the lengthy tendering process.

NHS Supply Chain arranges the delivery of products to the required location.

NHS Supply Chain offers an electronic system to manage all transactions, including an online catalogue, online ordering and an e-billing system.

The range of over 620,000 products includes:

  • theatres
  • nursing
  • food and facilities
  • clinical markets
  • capital equipment

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

Delivering value to the NHS