The must-read stories and debate in health policy and leadership.

NHS Supply Chain is looking for a new logistics provider and the contract they want to fill from 2024 onwards is a whopper. It will span nearly 12 years, if you include all the possible extensions plus the lead-in and “termination assistance” periods, and worth up to £4.4bn.

Compare that with the current contract it will replace from next year currently being fulfilled by Unipart, worth £730m and lasting five years.

This is the next step in the major overhaul of NHSSC’s operating model that saw it move from one based on outsourcing services to one with predominantly in-house provision.

The length of the new contract is intended to give the supplier and NHSSC space to form an adaptive, strategic relationship with longer-term investment in a new warehouse network and warehouse management systems, among other services.

And it also may give NHSSC and its logistics partner scope to bring a few different services currently supplied by other organisations into the fold.

These include those being delivered by “consumers”, an apparent reference to the proliferation of independent warehouse and logistic operations being set up by trusts and integrated care systems alongside the NHSSC operation, to the chagrin of the national agency.

From ‘stuck in’ to moving out

There has been a higher turnover of chief executives during the “extremely hard” recovery from the pandemic,  NHS England’s chief executive has said.

Amanda Pritchard told MPs that the NHS had seen “very little turnover” of hospital chief executives during the pandemic, saying “people just got stuck in”.

But she told the Public Accounts Committee on 3 July that “since we’ve now hit the recovery phase, which is extremely hard work, we’ve seen much more movement in chief executives.”

Her comments came as a number of CEOs have retired or moved roles in the last year, including the leaders of Manchester University Foundation Trust and Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust.

Ms Pritchard told MPs that NHSE was “enhancing” its support for new CEOs,  for example by “mentoring” or “buddying” more established leaders. She also said an “urgent priority” would be to ensure new CEOs can access support, and are able to both “self assess and be assessed” on their performance.

Also on today

In this week’s The Download, Joe Talora says that on the day of the NHS’s 75th birthday, it’s worth reflecting on the incredible technological leaps that have been made in the health service since its post-war beginnings. And in Comment, Andi Orlowski says a resourced workforce plan is needed to train and retain data analysts.