Supplier FAQs

Supplier Update Webinars: COVID-19 Information

We are taking a pause in our weekly updates but will continue to review on a regular basis. We will reinstate our webinars should there be significant information to communicate and you will receive a new invitation to register.

To keep up to date with news and information around our response to COVID-19, please visit the COVID-19 pages of our website.

View our FAQs with questions from attendees and answers from the webinar presenters.

Downloads of the most recent slide deck presentations will remain available for the foreseeable future.

 

FAQs

Answers to the questions raised during and after our webinars can be found below.

ICU Surge and NHS NightingaleInventoryPPE PushProcurement ProcessWorking in Medical Environments


ICU Surge and NHS Nightingale

How can Suppliers distinguish Nightingale and ICU Surge orders from BAU orders?

Contact your Inventory contacts and they will be able to advise you. The priority has been to treat existing patients in existing hospitals, except in the standing up of the Nightingale units where some product has been prioritised in order to safely stand up these units, thereafter all demand will be driven from where the patient requirements are.

Is COVID-19 creating additional demand for blood diagnostics?

It is currently affecting POCT in particular blood gas analysers and to a lesser extent blood glucose. But, other areas such as Microbiology/Molecular are not currently affected. Also, EG is down due to the cancellation of electives as screening programmes have stopped.


Inventory

Due to the precautions for Covid-19, carriers do not hand the terminal to the recipient at the depots to sign, so there is no signature. How is NHS Supply Chain logging the delivery?

Whilst no formal signature can be provided the carrier should obtain name of person confirming receipt, date and time.

What is the Purchase Order issue process?

Purchase Orders for all products within the NHS Supply Chain catalogue are created and transmitted electronically to suppliers.

How will backorders be managed and allocated?

With agreement from the supplier, Purchase Orders will be left open until they can be fulfilled in full.

Will all EU Exit stock now be released?

EU Exit stock has been utilised to fulfil BAU or Covid demand when suppliers have struggled to meet orders placed by NHS Supply Chain for either ICU Surge or BAU demand.

The request of suppliers is to fulfil any orders that they receive from NHS SC as we are placing those in knowledge of the stocks that are held in the BAU, ICU Surge and Eu Exit and planning assumptions that have been arrived at in conjunction with NHSEI, DHSC and other Healthcare stakeholders to determine the volumes required

How should Suppliers respond to the increasing number of hospitals placing direct orders in addition to NHS Supply Chain demand?

NHS Supply Chain is the recognised national delivery model for the NHS. When you receive an NHS Supply Chain order it should be prioritised over individual Trusts. This is to allow a centrally managed allocation of products, aimed at avoiding overstock in some geographies that would create shortages in others.

Should suppliers cancel/amend orders received or ship as soon as we can?

NHS Supply Chain asks that all suppliers ship what product is available, accepting that this could mean part-shipping orders. Please maintain an open dialogue with us to ensure we are informed of your intentions and progress in such situations.

How is NHS Supply Chain calculating demand for the COVID-19 response?

For the purposes of calculating demand, NHS England clinicians have worked with NHS Supply Chain to look at historic demand and clinical practice for anticipated patient activity.


PPE Push

How is the PPE stock allocated to hospitals?

NHS England allocates PPE based on a consumption model that takes account of Public Health England consumption advice for different clinical settings.

What is the specific communication going to Clinical and Procurement staff at every trust on what stock is available and how it will be allocated?

PPE Push delivery manifests are available to Trusts on the Dedicated PPE Supply Channel website:
https://www.supplychain.nhs.uk/ppe-dedicated-supply-channel-downloads/

From that site, they can see what has been delivered to other Trusts to enable mutual aid between neighbouring Trusts.

Who decides what products are in the national stockpiles?

The Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Programme (PIPP) stockpile is owned and managed by Public Health England and is being released to support the COVID-19 response. PIPP includes a broad range of PPE lines.

How is the demand for gloves being managed in the COVID-19 response?

The demand for examination gloves has significantly increased above the consumption numbers produced by the NHSE model. To protect stockholding and ensure stock is delivered where it is needed most, Examination Gloves have moved into the Daily PPE Stock Push model.

This includes NCP 6n Nitrile Examination Gloves. All other gloves remain available to order through NHS Supply Chain and demand for these products will be closely monitored.

What is the current states of non-PPE deliveries to customers?

At the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic, NHS Supply Chain saw customer orders at triple usual levels. PPE was prioritised, causing other product delivery to extend from Day 1 order for Day 3 delivery to as far out as Day 5. PPE has now been moved out to a dedicated logistics channel, easing pressure on the rest of our Business-As-Usual operation, and Day 1 for Day 3 is now back in effect. This was extensively communicated to customers throughout.

How will primary care and community organisations be served?

An eCommerce solution is being created for community partners. Partners will be invited to register for an account for the portal in April. In the meantime, these organisations should order through their usual channels. Non-NHS Supply Chain customers requiring PPE and other critical stock should order through their business as usual channels.

If normal supply is disrupted and their business as usual channels are insufficient, they should contact the National Supply Disruption Response (NSDR) which operates a 24/7 helpline. Freephone number in the UK: 0800 915 9964 or Direct Line: 0191 283 6543.

How are you supplying trusts with their “business as usual demand” for hand hygiene products?

NHS England has a consumption model that is being used to allocate volumes of these products for the Dedicated PPE Channel.


Procurement Process

How can I supply products to the NHS for the Covid-19 response?

At the onset of Covid-19 in the UK, NHS Supply Chain saw demand at 300% of our usual levels.

Having worked exhaustively with all our existing framework suppliers, it is also necessary that we now source some products from new suppliers, that we did not already work with.

Separate teams are managing different procurement streams and categories:

  • PPE: A cabinet office team is handling PPE and associated products for Covid-19 response;
  • Non-PPE: NHS Supply Chain continues to source all non-PPE products for Covid-19 response including ICU products, and for business-as-usual;
  • Ventilators: A central government team drove the procurement of ready-to-buy ventilators, they had an overwhelming response which led to secured orders to supply in excess of 20,000 ventilation devices from established producers to be delivered to the NHS over the coming weeks. The priority now is to ensure that these new devices are made available to the NHS as quickly as possible, where they are most needed, therefore no new orders are currently being pursued for imported mechanical ventilation devices.

These teams are made up of procurement colleagues from a range of government functions and bodies, working together to a consistent process, to ensure we secure what the NHS needs- in the right quantities and to the right standards, terms and timescales.

Offers are being reviewed and addressed in priority order according to clinical need, stock location (UK located material is prioritised), supplier viability, robust sourcing channels and good levels of stock availability.

These teams will contact you directly asking for specifications, certifications and any further detail they need to validate and progress your offer.

What happens now that I have filled in the form to provide detail on my product offer?

This data has all been collated and is now being progressed by the relevant of the team either PPE, Non-PPE or Ventilator team. You will hear from them in due course. Please be patient as they work through the fantastic volume of offers received, according to the priorities outlined above.

How can I inform you I have products to offer?

Completing the online forms at the links below will put your information straight into the workstream for your product type.

PPE https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-support-from-business

  • Aprons
  • Body Bags
  • Clinical Waste Bags
  • Eye Protection (glasses and face shields)
  • Face Mask II
  • Face Masks IIR
  • Respirators FFP2
  • Respirators FFP3
  • Fit Test (Solutions) for masks
  • Fit Test (Full Kits) for masks
  • General Purpose Detergent
  • Gloves (Examination only NOT surgeons)
  • Gowns
  • Hand Hygiene
  • Swabs
  • Covid19 Testing Kits

Other https://www.supplychain.nhs.uk/covid19/

All other medical devices, products & clinical consumables products, including for the stand-up of the Nightingale hospitals.

We are reviewing a huge volume of product offers from a great many suppliers, so only information submitted via these 3 channels will be considered.

What items are being sourced with particular focus?

Gowns, body bags, Swabs for testing, and all PPE.

Will you be delisting suppliers or products that have been added to the catalogue for the COVID-19 response when returning to BAU?

As the situation goes back to normal suppliers will be advised of what will be happening in the respective categories based on demand and global supply chain challenges.

Are you able to obtain approval from MHRA on a new type II mask we have ready for sale?

The MHRA is working closely with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and other healthcare partners and stakeholders to rapidly identify where flexibilities in the regulation of medicines and medical devices may be possible. This is with a view to supporting the healthcare products supply chain and wider response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the UK. Guidance for industry on flexible approaches to regulation during the COVID-19 outbreak can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/mhra-regulatory-flexibilities-resulting-from-coronavirus-covid-19

How can I get involved in PPE novel manufacture?

If you are a UK manufacturing business who are not currently, but would like to start, manufacturing or assembling PPE equipment, please email covid-ppe-make-cell@cabinetoffice.gov.uk


Working in Medical Environments

What is the opinion of the NHS at this time regarding criticality of supplier service visits?

Activity is reduced but still classified as essential in terms of travel and activity. Individual Trusts will advise their own protocols.

Does the NHS have specific PPE requirements for contractors, while attending service or breakdown visits to hospitals? (e.g. masks, disposable overalls, gloves)

Individual Trusts will advise their own protocols and available PPE.

Are there any plans to help identify key contract workers to assist with access to/from hospitals?

Individual Trusts will advise their own protocols.

However, guidance was communicated in the Supplier Webinar on 8 April 2020 and has been disseminated through the trade bodies, if you have not seen this yet it is available via:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educationalprovision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision

Downloads ▼

  • COVID-19 Supplier Update Webinar 12 Slide Deck

    The slide deck from the supplier update webinar presented on 24 June 2020.

    Please to view this content.