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(19 Posts)
Grany Thu 21-May-20 22:09:42

More than 300 NHS and care workers have now died from coronavirus and many of these deaths were “avoidable with PPE”.

Businesses and communities have been ready to help out with vital protective equipment – masks, gowns, visors. But in the last few months, it’s often felt like the government was asleep at the wheel.


The NHS Supply Chain, responsible for procuring and delivering PPE during the coronavirus crisis, has itself been privatised.

Procurement and logistics in our NHS has been outsourced to a chaotic mish-mash of private contractors. There are 11 key outsourced procurement contracts and four levels of profit taking before equipment arrives at the hospital or care home.

The system is supposed to deliver "efficiency savings". In reality, supplies have been rationed and the country left unprepared. This has severely undermined the national effort to protect NHS, care staff and patients.

The system is horrendously complicated, but here are the top 5 key companies you need to know about.

DHL, the parcel delivery company, is in charge of finding wholesalers to supply ward based consumables, including PPE kits. In the last year, DHL advertised 64 tenders for NHS supplies, directly controlling at least £4 billion of NHS spending. DHL boasts that it originally helped to privatise “the government purchasing and supply agency and logistics agency”. It has previously confessed to being part of freight cartels.

Unipart is responsible for delivering PPE through its £730 million NHS logistics contract. Unipart’s CEO promised to ‘cure the NHS’ in 2013 but its “just in time” approach goes against the need to stockpile medical goods, such as PPE.

Deloitte has won a series of major NHS contracts – for designing the procurement system in the first place and more recently for managing logistics for PPE and testing centres. “It’s been a nightmare to deal with Deloitte,” one British factory owner said. “They don’t seem to understand how supply chains work…why have they barely spoken to factories across this country who know how to make this kit?

Movianto won a £55 million contract in 2018 to provide a stockpile of equipment, mostly PPE, in case of a pandemic. According to delivery drivers, Movianto was not ready to get the deliveries out to hospitals, due to “bad management” of the stock and short-staffing at its “chaotic” custom-built warehouse. Much of the stock was out of date.

Clipper Logistics has been subcontracted by Unipart to run a separate PPE channel for NHS Trusts, GPs and care homes. Clipper’s chairman Steven Parkin donated £725,000 to the Conservative Party in the last 5 years. The company is accused of threatening workers with disciplinary action over concerns about coming into work during the pandemic.

We call on the government to bring the NHS Supply Chain back into accountable public ownership so we can keep staff and patients safe in the future.

Read the full report now: Privatised and Unprepared - The NHS Supply Chain:

PDF icon Privatised and Unprepared - The NHS Supply Chain Final.pdf

moggie57 Thu 21-May-20 22:13:17

well the british government never liked paying out monmey and it still doesnt.

MaizieD Thu 21-May-20 22:13:57

The link:

Luckygirl Thu 21-May-20 22:19:08

There is no doubt that privatisation in the health service has been a huge problem; not only in practical and logistical terms, but the fragmentation and distancing from the service itself demotivates.

I have often used an example from when I was working in a local hospital and privatisation of many aspects of the service was starting to be being brought in. A pool of dried blood sat on the corridor between the wards for several days, because it was no one person's responsibility to clean it up. Because the private services employed lacked the sense of commitment to each other and to the service to simply clean it up. Previously one of the cleaning staff based in the hospital would have dashed to get a mop and get it cleared up, out of a sense of pride in their hospital. That sort of commitment cannot be bought.

Fragmented supply chains are a disaster in public services.

Oopsadaisy3 Thu 21-May-20 22:19:20

Surely the NHS Managers are responsible for ordering PPEs?
I thought that was why they are paid big money , to actually manage the supply chain?

Grany Thu 21-May-20 22:21:14

Thank you for the link MaizieD

MaizieD Thu 21-May-20 22:22:15

I can't get over DHL, a* logistics company* for heaven's sake, tendering for 'ward based consumables'.

What do they know about hospitals' requirements for 'ward based consumables'? What sort of expertise did they have in order to win the contract? It's like going to the butchers to buy a dress! Crazy....

MaizieD Thu 21-May-20 22:23:10

Sorry, not tendering, sourcing...

growstuff Thu 21-May-20 22:30:26

The trouble is Oopsadaisy that NHS "managers" work for hundreds of separate organisations - hospital trusts, GP practices, etc and are all in competition for the same scarce resources. There is no central coordination. NHS Supply, which was formed in 2016, to replace the shambles caused by the 2012 Health and Social Care Act can't cope and trusts, GPs, care homes etc have had to look elsewhere.

There are hundreds of other examples where fragmentation is causing operational and communication problems. People are often not aware that companies with the NHS logo are often, in fact, private companies (some for profit), who are all competing in a market.

Grany Thu 21-May-20 22:35:48

None of these companies are up to the job and shouldn't have been given contracts, nor should the supply chain have been privatised.

MaizieD Thu 21-May-20 22:56:36

I've just quickly read through the report. I do hope that other people do, too. It's quite an eyeopener.

growstuff Fri 22-May-20 01:49:58

Just read it. I knew about some of it, but it's worse than I thought.

sodapop Fri 22-May-20 08:37:11

That is exactly right Luckygirl outside agencies do not have the same commitment or sense of responsibility to the hospital.

Grany Fri 22-May-20 08:53:40

This is a must read an important report.

The government are pushing through a bill for trade deal with USA no clause included about saving our NHS from sell off A second reading what will happen? I have written to my MP to speak up and be heard to stop this happening.

Blinko Fri 22-May-20 08:58:27

Surely if nothing else, this pandemic will have demonstrated to the Government (and anyone else that thinks all's well) that their shambolic approach to both the NHS and to Social Care is unworkable, unfit for purpose.

What's it going to take?

Blinko Fri 22-May-20 09:04:39

Just emailed a link to my MP.

MerylStreep Fri 22-May-20 09:08:57

I emailed my MP & Matt Hancock some days ago when I saw this. Neither can be in doubt at my my anger.
I always knew the procurement procedure was bad but this is ....... words fail me.???

MaizieD Fri 22-May-20 10:26:29

A rather tangential point, but one that makes me cross as well, is that if governments understood how the 'real' economy worked and were not so obsessed with saving money (what for, a birthday treat, a special holiday?) or cutting back public expenditure, they would not be insistent on looking for the cheapest 'value for money' and sourcing from abroad, but would use the manufacturing capacity in the UK as far as is possible.

That way, every penny spent for the Health Service goes into the 'real' UK economy and benefits us all through employment, consumer spending and the demand for related businesses, rather than going abroad to increase the profits of foreign companies. In this instance I definitely approve of buying British...

growstuff Fri 22-May-20 12:18:10

Did you read the "Independent Sage" recommendations about all this Maizie? I agree.

The UK has the capacity, expertise and experience to produce almost everything the NHS needs (apart from some specialist equipment). There's a ready pool of young graduates, who can't find work this year (and others), who could work in pharmaceuticals and in logistics.

What really horrifies me is how privatisation has mean there are so many layers in the supply chain, all of whom need to make a profit to keep their share holders happy.

I really don't think people realise how much the NHS has been privatised under their noses. Yes, basic healthcare is still free and most places still carry an NHS logo, but actually the services have been fragmented and outsourced to hundreds of different companies, most of which are profit-making.

This means that money is being siphoned out of the NHS for shareholders, communication is poor, profits are put before patients, fewer options are available to clinicians and patients and, maybe most important, the government can wash its hands of overall responsibility and claim they outsourced and paid somebody else to take on the responsibility.

As somebody with chronic conditions, who has had to use the NHS regularly (albeit infrequently) for many years, I've seen the changes over the last few years and know that if I weren't on top of my conditions, I know my health would have suffered. Generally, I have nothing but praise for the clinicians within the NHS, but they're working within a flawed system. It really scares me that pharma and healthcare are still on the table in trade talks with the US.