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Supply Chain Resilience

NHS Supply Chain’s experiences through COVID-19 highlighted the criticality of ensuring a resilient supply chain for NHS trusts, through our delivery networks and suppliers’ supply chains.

The NHS has evolving service needs and requires continued support to deliver safe and excellent patient care.  

Ensuring that all NHS trusts have equal access to key consumables required to provide patient care remains a top priority. NHS Supply Chain working alongside external organisations, is focused on enabling supply chain resilience for the NHS.

There are a multitude of projects in progress across 2022 and 2023 to improve our supply chain resilience and make NHS Supply Chain easier to work with:

  • Service excellence programme: Improve supplier inbound performance and review the optimal supply channel.
  • Increased stockholding: To better protect customers from supply issues.
  • Continued monitoring of global events: Category Tower Service Providers (CTSPs) to liaise with suppliers to confirm any potential supply disruptions.
  • PPE transfer and ongoing improvements: Working with NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), to maintain continuity of PPE supply across the NHS and future improvements, following the transfer of operations responsibility to NHS Supply Chain and future improvements.
  • Important Customer Notices (ICNs) project: Working to improve ICNs to provide NHS trusts with the relevant information as quickly as possible in response to a supply issue.
  • eCommerce improvement programmes: Various projects are in progress to improve our online catalogue, eDirect service, eDC Gold. In addition to the Core Technology Refresh project.
  • Alternative product mapping: Across the top 8,000 products.
  • Strengthening of our category and sourcing strategy standards: Ensure resilience is a key parameter.
  • Future mapping of supply chains via NQC tool: More in-depth views of supply chains.

Resilience Briefing Paper

In this briefing we explore the lessons learned over the pandemic and the steps being taken to ensure supply chain resilience.

See our Downloads ▼ section to access the full briefing paper.

National Consumables Reserve

To ensure supply resilience, the DHSC, will continue to hold and manage the National Consumables Reserve within NHS Supply Chain. Following a critical review, NHS England has decided to reduce national reserves to new levels.

Click here to find out more about how NHS Supply Chain will be supporting the reduction of surplus reserve stock.

Suspended Consumables

NHS Supply Chain under the instruction of NHS England is carefully managing the supply of key consumables. Ensuring all NHS trusts have equal access to key consumables required to provide patient care remains a top priority.

To enable continuity of supply, several products will be demand managed to an approved threshold. Where there is an exceptional increase in national demand for critical products, they will be suspended with immediate effect. Any other product suspensions will be managed outside of this process via the normal Important Customer Notice (ICN) route.

Click here to see how we are managing the supply of consumables.

Downloads ▼

  • Resilience Dashboard

    Dashboard to track available data against key resilience metrics. Last updated on 11 December 2023.
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  • Resilience Briefing Paper

    A PDF file of the NHS Supply Chain resilience briefing paper.
    Login to view the downloads