Collaborative procurement boosts blood services

9 May 2013

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9 May 2013 | Andy Allen

The NHS in England and North Wales hopes to maximise its spend by adopting a new standardised blood pack with five other blood services across Europe.

Eurobloodpack has been adopted by the NHS Blood and Transplant service in England and North Wales as well as the rest of Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and the Netherlands.

Eugene Cooke, associate director, national head of procurement for NHS Blood and Transplant, said the move to use a standardised blood pack would generate economies of scale and lead to a much more streamlined tendering process.

Annually, NHS Blood and Transplant for England and North Wales sources 1.8 to 1.9 million blood packs. All six participating countries use 2.5 million blood packs annually in total.

According to Cooke, blood services will now source blood packs from a single supplier. “In the past, most of the blood services have worked with a couple of suppliers,” he added.

This meant each individual blood service was effectively duplicating tenders and technical product tests, taking up their own suppliers’ time, Cooke said.

The initiative, which won the overall excellence and international procurement categories at the Ireland National Procurement Awards 2012, was led by NHS Blood and Transplant. A team under lead contracts manager Dan Kirkbride managed the process.

“We worked for about six years to get a standard specification,” Cooke told SM. “It’s a logical thing to happen but a major part of the collaboration is getting people on board. Different countries have different mindsets and different ways of doing things.

All EU blood services, plus those in Canada, Australia and New Zealand will be designated “beneficiaries” of the scheme and can access Eurobloodpack specifications and testing data. Cooke said this would save them considerable time on going out to a full tender.

He said the volume of blood packs being sourced through the scheme could double or triple if other blood services joined the collaboration.

Actual savings are hard to predict and will depend on the volume of blood used by blood services in the future, he added.

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