News from our public relations team

Press releases

NHS Supply Chain welcomes National Audit Office report on managing high value capital equipment

Wednesday 30 March 2011

Today's National Audit Office (NAO) report on NHS trusts planning, procurement and use of expensive medical equipment - such as Computed Tomography or Cat-Scan (CT) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanners - has been welcomed by NHS Supply Chain.

The report, Managing High Value Capital Equipment in the NHS in England, states that value for money is not being achieved across all trusts because of their failure to collaborate but that savings can be achieved by grouping together requirements for new machines.

“The NAO report acknowledged that 75% of the NHS Trusts are utilising NHS Supply Chain framework’s and are enjoying lower acquisition costs and equipment cost savings. Naturally trusts get the benefit of NHS Supply Chain’s national pricing and we are already providing services to support a number of the recommendations in the Report," explained Andy Brown, NHS Supply Chain’s Managing Director Diagnostics.

Last November NHS Supply Chain was awarded a prestigious healthcare procurement award by the Health Service Journal (HSJ) for innovative methods that save NHS trusts time and money when acquiring medical equipment, including bulk purchasing which releases significant savings and has the potential to make a major contribution to QIPP targets over the next three years.

Mr Brown re-iterated: “The report noted significant savings had been achieved from NHS Supply Chain commitment deals in Mammography, Ultrasound and Endoscopy. We have demonstrated savings for Trusts purchasing individually and the report acknowledges that further aggregation of demand and providing commitment to manufacturers can deliver additional NHS savings.”

The report also noted that trusts will face a 17% reduction in capital spending over the next four years, especially challenging as half of all CT and MRI scanners are due for replacement in the next three years.

“This will provide a significant challenge for NHS Trusts and our range of frameworks to plan, aggregate, purchase or lease and maintain high end equipment will be invaluable to the NHS,

Mr Brown said. There is no reason why the bulk purchasing arrangements we have already implemented could not be applied to CT and MRI with support from the NHS to co-ordinate and aggregate requirements. We have invested heavily in Capital Planning and Leasing contracts to support Trusts and this facility, if adopted widely, will lead to more and more bulk buy opportunities for the Acute and Commissioning sectors.

“We would welcome the opportunity to work with the Department of Health and NHS Commissioning Board to further develop these recommendations.”


Notes to editors

About NHS Supply Chain
NHS Supply Chain is operated by DHL as Agent of the NHS Business Services Authority. 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 in 2006 from the NHS Logistics Authority and parts of the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency (NHS PASA). NHS Supply Chain aims to provide over £1 billion of savings to the NHS by 2016.

NHS Supply Chain 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
• orthopaedics
• rehabilitation
• capital equipment, including finance and maintenance

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

Delivering value to the NHS