The Department of Health has managed to recruit new evaluators for a £730m procurement after two people left the team tasked with assessing bids at late notice.
On Thursday, the DH put out a call via the Health Care Supplies Association for people across the NHS to join its evaluation team for a £730m logistics contract, which has been tendered as part of changes to NHS procurement.
A spokeswoman for the DH said two people had dropped out due to personal reasons.
The deadline for bids for the contract is 9 October, and a training day for evaluators is scheduled for Monday.
But the spokeswoman confirmed to HSJ this morning that two new people have been recruited to the nine person team, which will assist the DH in awarding the contract.
The DH is seeking one provider to deliver two main functions under the logistics contract. These are “core logistics services” and “home delivery services”. The latter is for the delivery of continence products to residential homes, care homes, and domestic premises. The DH said there are currently 250,000 users of this service.
Documents published by the DH reveal officials believe there is “considerable scope for other products to be supplied through this service, particularly as NHS organisations and local councils develop shared services in their sustainability and transformation partnerships”.
The core logistics service includes warehousing, transporting, inventory management, internal audit, customer services and operational finance.
The logistics element along with IT and transactional services will act as “enablers” for the rest of the new procurement model, the DH’s lead for the scheme said.
Howard Blackith, speaking at the UK Health Show this week, said those three elements would “not change dramatically in the first instance of the programme”.
He said the logistics service currently provided through the NHS Supply Chain works “pretty well” and would not change much from October 2018, when the DH’s “future operating model” replaces NHS Supply Chain.
Providers are also being sought by DH for IT and transactional services as part of the changes. The contract for transactional services has not yet been put on the market.
The rest of the model comprises 11 procurement “category towers”, which will buy goods on behalf of the NHS, and a management body overseeing the different elements called the “intelligent client coordinator”.