Scanner purchase gives Bradford hospital innovation edge

Adam Leach is a freelance business journalist
6 June 2013

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An NHS foundation trust has been able to purchase a CT scanner that can carry out an extra 15 scans a day by taking advantage of a rule that allowed it to bypass the competitive tendering process.

Last month, Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust took delivery of a new scanner, which houses a TV screen intended to put anxious patients at ease. Although the equipment cost £650,000, the procurement team was able to avoid a lengthy tender process without fear of legal action. It used an option in the NHS Supply Chain framework for CT scanners that allows a purchaser to work directly with a supplier if the product wanted is not on the framework.

Ali Ali, head of procurement at the hospital trust, told SM the scanner’s manufacturer Toshiba had approached the trust with a view to developing a new product. “We explored the innovation angle in the framework via NHS Supply Chain and carried out the negotiations directly with Toshiba. This allowed a timely award of the business to ensure that all key milestones are met.”

He emphasised the radiology department’s engagement of the procurement team early in the process as key to the success of the tendering process. And Ali explained he will be looking for further opportunities to use the approach with other departments. He added when successfully carried out, the approach gives the trust a competitive edge, because there are limited opportunities to partner with a supplier to develop such products.

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