NHS Supply Chain’s new maintenance framework reflects customer needs

Consultation with NHS Trusts, customer groups and key industry bodies contributed to ensuring the framework accurately reflects customer needs

NHS Supply Chain has launched a new framework for the maintenance, repair and calibration of medical equipment.

This nationally available framework incorporates more than 100 service providers covering a large range of medical equipment categories, from patient assessment and monitoring, through to radiotherapy and imaging. Each year an annual spend of £200m across 560 sites within the NHS customer base is managed via this framework.

NHS Supply Chain consulted widely with NHS Trusts throughout the development of the tender to ensure the renewed framework accurately reflected customer needs. In November 2014, the maintenance team brought together two customer groups made up of procurement, clinical engineers and other clinical professionals. They contributed to the direction of the framework by reviewing and approving specification documents, tender evaluation questions and scoring criteria.

Engagement with customers also enabled the team to introduce innovations into the maintenance service, including the development of new cover levels. This includes collaborative (first line), special component and best effort cover, reflecting the need to explore creative ways of structuring maintenance contracts to identify internal efficiencies and provide flexibility to Trusts with ageing equipment.

In addition to the customer groups, NHS Supply Chain also consulted with key industry bodies such as the Association of Healthcare Technology Providers for Imaging, Radiology and Care (AXrEM), the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and NHS England to ensure the new specifications resonated with the supply base. It also ensured that the framework aligned with the code of business practice, which sets out industry standards for the delivery of healthcare. As a result of this engagement, feedback was adopted and incorporated into the framework’s terms and conditions.

'Not only does it reflect the requirements of the NHS and industry, but it also provides flexibility to our customers to tailor their needs and take advantage of additional savings opportunities,' said Katie Heap, Trading Manager for Maintenance at NHS Supply Chain, Capital Solutions.

The framework also offers an accelerated route to market, saving NHS Trusts valuable time and money. There is no cost to use the framework and Trusts will receive free of charge support throughout the process.

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