Collaborative procurement brings down price of NHS blood products

NHS Blood and Transplant lead ambitious European project to procure new blood pack

Six countries including the UK have agreed to use a new standardised blood pack which will enable providers to cut costs through collaborative procurement.

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) led the initiative involving members of the European Blood Alliance (EBA) and was responsible for the procurement of the Eurobloodpack.

Our membership of the European Blood Alliance strengthens opportunities for working in partnership on the procurement of critical consumables, sharing knowledge and expertise and exercising more leverage on supplier price and quality

The pack provides opportunites to share resources in supplier audit and will increase operational resilience across blood services through the use of common specifications and the collation of defect and quality monitoring data.

A ‘ Heads of Agreement’, which has an agreed set of principles on how the collaboration should work, has been implemented with the blood services in all the countries involved - NHS Blood and Transplant (for England and North Wales), Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Eire and Sanquin (for The Netherlands).

The four-year framework agreement will begin on the1 May when blood services can start using the new Eurobloodpack.

Lynda Hamlyn, chief executive of NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “Our membership of the European Blood Alliance strengthens opportunities for working in partnership on the procurement of critical consumables, sharing knowledge and expertise and exercising more leverage on supplier price and quality.

“This collaboration with colleagues in other countries demonstrates not only the new level of ambition in procurement now taking place within the NHS and the public sector as a whole, but the importance of meaningful and professional relationships with our suppliers.”

Although the current agreement is with the six countries involved in the initial collaboration, the resulting agreement with suppliers will be made open to all EBA members and other countries where NHSBT has a close affiliation, such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Initial volumes of Eurobloodpack that could be committed by current partners are around 2.5 million units per annum. This could double or even triple if other blood services members join the agreement.

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