The government has agreed a five-year contract worth £730m with Unipart Logistics to centralise delivery services for NHS Trusts after seeing off a legal challenge from the incumbent provider, DHL Supply Chain.

The contract was due to be awarded in January but the court case was only settled in the DHSC’s favour in mid-August.

The Department of Health wants to generate savings of £2.4bn over a five year period.

Until recently, NHS trusts in England could negotiate their own contracts for products such as bandages, gloves and surgical equipment, meaning neighbouring hospitals often paid different prices for products from the same supplier.

Streamlining procurement for the NHS’ 234 separate trusts was one of the efficiency measures proposed in the 2016 Carter Review.

The logistics contract for Unipart is the biggest of 13 new national contracts forming the new NHS Supply Chain and will start in early 2019. Unipart’s responsibilities will include:

  • Delivering medical devices and hospital consumables ‒ other than medicine ‒ to NHS trusts
  • Warehousing and inventory management
  • Order processing and delivery.

A home delivery service will make up around 10 per cent of the contract, which will allow some patients to receive supplies in their own home.

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