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Reducing 10,400 delivery miles across Bristol and Bath hospitals

Monday 13 December 2010

NHS Supply Chain saves enough miles to drive from Bridgwater to Sydney!

NHS Supply Chain has helped hospitals in Bristol and Bath save more than 10,400 delivery miles through its carbon reduction programme – that’s about the distance from Bridgwater to Sydney in Australia.

The organisation’s depot in Bridgwater, Somerset supplies vital medical equipment to hospitals around the South West. From here 60 vehicles make 500 deliveries a day to 3,000 locations such as hospitals and GP practices.

NHS Supply Chain endeavours to reduce its impact on the environment and has helped hospitals in the area reduce their own carbon emissions over the past year.

Simon Lamb, project manager at the Bridgwater site says, “In a bid to cut down on the amount of vehicle emissions pumped into the atmosphere, we looked at ways that we could reorganise our deliveries across Bristol and Bath.”

The answer was to divide the area into five separate geographical zones, then organise journeys so that each zone received a once-a-week delivery service.

“It made perfect sense,” adds Simon. “Instead of two half-empty vans making trips around Bath twice a week, we would send one full vehicle to do the job once a week.”

As a result, Simon estimates that around 10,400 vehicle miles were saved over the course of a year. That’s an overall saving of five tonnes in carbon emissions per year.

Consequently NHS Supply Chain is now looking at introducing similar carbon emission cutback initiatives in other cities across south-west England including Plymouth and Exeter.

Carine Verstraete, head of supply chain management at Bristol & Weston NHS Purchasing Consortium says of the project, “We’re really pleased with the success of this initiative which has managed to consolidate routes and reduce our carbon footprint while maintaining service levels.

“It’s just one example of the growing partnership between the Consortium and NHS Supply Chain.”


Media enquiries:
Andrew Brentnall
01773 724196 or 07766 513181
Jayesha Mistry
07738 071826

Notes to editors

Bristol and West Case Study

A copy of NHS Supply Chain’s second annual sustainability report can be downloaded here:

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 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 620,000 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 40 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
  • orthopedics
  • rehabilitation
  • capital equipment, including finance and maintenance

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

Delivering value to the NHS