19 June 2007 | Antony Barton
NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency (Pasa) has launched the first framework agreement for NHS bodies to secure operating leases.
From this month, NHS bodies can use the agreement to acquire, with an operating lease, medical and non-medical items with an individual or combined value of £1,000 to over £2 million. An operating lease is commonly used to acquire equipment on a short-term basis.
NHS Pasa awarded 15 financial institutions, or lessors, a place on the framework. An NHS body would first run a separate competition to select the item it wished to hire and would then run a competition on this framework to see which lessor would provide the necessary funds.
The agency says advantages of the agreement include a cut in the time to establish an operating lease, from 77 days to around 15; possibly improved rental rates; increased competition for smaller equipment, valued at less than £50,000; and compliance with predetermined contract terms and conditions.
The NHS spends around half a billion pounds a year on leasing and related forms of finance, such as short-term rental. The most popular items leased include radiology, cardiology, radiotherapy, pathology, catering, furniture and estates equipment.