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12 tech merchants win slices of £504m NHS framework without competition because everything is terrible

Ain't nobody got time for that

Twelve resellers have been awarded places on an NHS hardware contract for northern England in deals worth a total of £504m.

The North of England Commercial Procurement Collaborative (NOE CPC) has dished out the four-year contracts without competition because "the necessary NHS expertise is not currently available to support the tender evaluation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic".

As such, "framework continuity is required during a period of high demand and priority to support the operational needs of the NHS in procuring these particular products and services at short notice," it said in the contract award notices.

The original £500m four-year hardware contracts date back to 2017 and were set to expire this year.

Winning contracts worth £42m each were Stone Computers, Softcat, XMA, Parity Medical, Roc Technologies, Specialist Computer Centre, Insight Direct, Dacoll, Boxxe, HP, Dell, and Centerprise International.

Procurement covers a gamut of hardware and services as well as medical technologies, and includes desktops, laptops, tablets, a category known only as data-processing machines, and, rather quaintly, minicomputer hardware.

The framework is available to all public-sector bodies, general practice commissioning consortia, NHS England, and any body obtaining new membership to NHS Shared Business Services, the Department of Health and Social Care's joint venture with Sopra Steria.

In a similar move, NHS Shared Business Services has awarded a £500m framework to 28 resellers and technology firms, many of which also appear on the NOE CPC framework.

Established in 2007, and wholly owned by the NHS, the NOE CPC offers "collaborative and bespoke procurement solutions to the NHS and other public sector organisations", according to its website. The idea is it can bulk-buy and has more time to study the markets than a single organisation might have.

It has been busy. In December, Deloitte, Atos, and Phoenix Software were among the 29 organisations it picked to provide a whopping £200m worth of IT consultancy services under a framework deal. ®

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