Tender processes time-consuming and costly. Antonio Fabrizio reports.
Nine leasing companies have been chosen for a £100m (€117m) a year framework agreement with the NHS.
This is the latest contract for leasing companies working with the NHS, which could result in more business but also heap additional burdens on UK lessors through their time-consuming tender processes.
Ken Hunnisett, director at Cranmer Lawrence, one of the lessors in the framework, said: “We are grateful for the opportunity. . . The participation process has been expensive and time-consuming, but if the use of frameworks results in the delivery of increased volumes of NHS business then it will all have been worthwhile.”
The agreement stresses the extent of changes in health-care procurement after PASA was dismantled last year. The market has changed from having one entity advising on NHS procurement, to having numerous entities working alongside the NHS.
A source familiar with the situation said: “Everybody was under the impression that NHS Supply Chain was going to be the default framework, but now we have intermediaries pairing up with trusts to offer alternatives.
“In this situation, lessors have to make sure that their business through every NHS Trust is still open regardless of which framework it is, or who it is through.”
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is the central purchasing body and Leaseguard are administrators for the latest framework.
Steve Swiatek, sales director of CHG-Meridian, also on the Cambridge framework, said: “The NHS is a key area for residual-based IT leasing. We are a major player in the public sector and it remains our intention to grow our presence.”
Three other agreements have been launched this year.
The biggest was rolled out in June and involved NHS Supply Chain and 20 preferred leasing suppliers. The other two involved Healthcare Purchasing Consortium (HPC) and Buying Solutions as framework administrators.
FLA head of asset finance Julian Rose said: “It is great so many trusts are now discussing leasing right at the time when they are selecting new medical equipment.”
Cranmer Lawrence has been selected for all four frameworks and hopes to gain a place on two more: a second HPC agreement and another with Pro-Cure Collaborative Procurement Hub.
The other lessors selected for the Cambridge framework are De Lage Landen, Siemens Financial Services, Lombard North Central, Singer Healthcare Finance, GE Capital Equipment Finance, Asset Finance & Management and Solutions Asset Finance.
Other NHS bodies such as acute trusts, mental health trusts, foundation trusts and primary care trusts will be able to lease assets using the multi-supplier framework. Each will run a mini-competition.
The volume of lease financing under the framework is expected not to exceed £100m a year. Actual volumes will depend on customer uptake for the services.
Lessors will provide medical and non-medical equipment.