Emergency hospitals have been set up around England to support the NHS throughout the pandemic © Jacob King/POOL/AFP/Getty Images
Emergency hospitals have been set up around England to support the NHS throughout the pandemic © Jacob King/POOL/AFP/Getty Images

Nightingale hospitals: 18 months of procurement in two weeks

27 April 2020

NHS Shared Business Services (SBS) used its “extensive knowledge” of the NHS supplier market to secure equipment for Nightingale hospitals around the UK within two weeks.

NHS SBS provided transactional procurement services to NHS England in order to procure essential products and equipment for the opened Nightingale hospitals in London, Birmingham and Manchester. 

The emergency hospitals have been set up to help support NHS England throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Another four hospitals have been set up across England in Bristol, Exeter, Harrogate, Washington. 

Phil Davies, director of procurement at NHS SBS, said: “The speed of response needed across the NHS procurement sector to support the frontline and get the new NHS Nightingale hospitals up and running quickly has been quite incredible. 

 “Our procurement team has extensive knowledge of the NHS supplier market through our framework portfolio, and relationships that have been established over many years – both of which are invaluable for a time-critical emergency response like this.”

In Manchester, NHS SBS was “heavily involved in the planning, sourcing and equipping” of the NHS Nightingale Hospital North West. 

It worked with the procurement department from Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and NHS Supply Chain to rapidly source all of the equipment needed to open up the 648-bed hospital.

Goods procured for the hospital included 100 volumetric infusion pumps, oxygen cylinders, controlled drugs cabinets, and other difficult to source items due to the current Covid-19 market conditions.

Purchasing the essential goods required at the NHS Nightingale Hospital London, one of the world’s largest hospitals with 4,000 beds, would usually take over 18 months, NHS SBS said. 

In order to meet the immediate needs of the NHS, the hospital had to be ready to admit its first patients within two weeks. 

Meanwhile, logistics firm DHL Supply chain has built a supply chain operation to support the build and running of the Nightingale hospitals. 

The operation, which would normally take up to six months to put in place, was up and running within two weeks.

 It set up operations in Skelmersdale, Lancashire, and Liverpool, to receive, store, pick and deliver approximately 3,000 lines of key medical equipment and consumables to the hospitals. The sites are expected to handle over 20,000 pallets in the next two months.

DHL’s NHS procurement teams have also been supporting the sourcing of Covid-19 equipment and consumables for the NHS including ventilators, patient monitoring, vascular ultrasound, mobile x-ray, laryngoscopes and CT scanners.

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