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NHS Supply Chain supports growing appetite for sustainable hospital food

Monday 7 January 2013

NHS Supply Chain has launched a new web page to support trusts working to adopt the new Government Buying Standards (GBS) for food and catering services launched by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

The new web page has been added to NHS Supply Chain’s existing catering micro site to provide trusts with information about catering suppliers and their product ranges that meet the new standards and help them improve nutritional values and buy more sustainably.

The GBS for food and catering services cover procurement of food produced to higher sustainability and nutritional standards. Originally introduced in 2011 following a successful trial across a selection of public sector organisations, the standards include a number of key sustainable and nutritional criteria for food such as animal welfare, salt and saturated fat reduction, food waste and packaging.

“Hospital catering has come to the forefront of public attention over the past couple of years, and many NHS trusts have already been working hard to develop the nutritional content and sustainable credentials of hospital food to improve the patient experience” explains Stephanie Proctor, Ethical and Sustainability Manager at NHS Supply Chain. “GBS are a priority category for NHS Supply Chain and we are working hard to increase the visibility of supplier information for NHS trusts.

“As a business, we fully support the standards. They provide clear guidelines for how NHS trusts can take a more sustainable approach to procuring food and catering services. Our new web page provides a simple and straightforward way for trusts to compare products on NHS Supply Chain framework agreements against the criteria set out in the GBS, helping to meet their own sustainability objectives.”

The new web page supports NHS Supply Chain’s wider commitment to the GBS. This includes the provision of GBS information on all future catering framework agreement tenders and ongoing work with suppliers to provide clear details of individual products and their compliance with specific GBS criteria.

To access the web page, visit  


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Notes to editors About NHS Supply Chain

Follow us on Twitter: @NHSSupplyChain

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 600,000 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