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Smarter, better, procurement; NHS Supply Chain welcomes the Department of Health’s ‘Raising our Game’ guidelines

Friday 1 June 2012

  • Department of Health and NHS Supply Chain have established a £300 million fund to enable the NHS to buy capital equipment in bulk
  • £1.2 billion could be saved over the next four years if procurement becomes a priority
  • Over £11 million saved through NHS Supply Chain bulk buy discounts to date on £88 million advance orders for high value medical equipment

The Department of Health (DH) has announced that smarter collaborative buying could save the NHS in excess of £1.2 billion over the next four years.

The six areas for improvement in the DH’s recent ‘NHS Procurement: Raising our Game’ guidelines outline what trusts need to do to get greater value from their non pay spend and how working with organisations such as NHS Supply Chain can enable NHS trusts to generate millions in savings through:

  • Planning multi year equipment requirements with NHS Supply Chain
  • aggregating spend nationally
  • bulk-buying – using DH funds to drive greater savings through commitment.

NHS Supply Chain welcomes the recognition of the role that procurement plays in driving improvement in services and stimulating innovation to the benefit of the patient. It is estimated that over £18 billion of the NHS’ annual spend is on procurement and it is crucial that the focus going forward is on making the best possible use of the NHS’ huge buying power. The £300 million fund means that trusts have the support structure to make the most of their spend.

Andy Brown, Business Solutions Managing Director at NHS Supply Chain says “NHS Supply Chain is committed to driving smarter, better, procurement. We have the scale and expertise to provide value through our planning, procurement, maintenance, leasing and disposal services for capital equipment.”

“There is an increasing demand on NHS services along with a continually growing and ageing population; it’s therefore imperative that trusts collaboratively use their buying power to secure the most advanced equipment at the very best prices.” NHS Supply Chain has recently formed a Customer Board, chaired by Chris Sharratt OBE, comprising of 20 members representing the NHS. It aims to allow open communication to influence strategy and enable greater savings to be delivered to the NHS. It mirrors Trust Boards so that we can better focus on and facilitate what trusts need and enable accelerated access to the savings that are available on non pay spend.

“The £300 million fund that the Department of Health has established will allow NHS Supply Chain to aggregate spend across multiple trusts for vital equipment and improve the planning process for the product lifecycle. By generating bulk-buy discounts, we are increasing crucial savings that trusts can invest back in to front line patient care” concludes Andy.

For further information on NHS Supply Chain’s capital solutions please visit:

For further details on the Department of Health’s, ‘NHS Procurement; Raising our game’ please visit:


Media enquiries:

Jayesha Mistry
07738 071826

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. (*source: NHS Supply Chain 2009 value proposition study with Southampton NHS trust)

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