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United Kingdom-London: Ventilators
Contract award notice
Results of the procurement procedure
Section I: Contracting authority
Section II: Object
Oxygen and Ventilator Workstream: Ventilator Purchasing — OES Medical Ltd
The purchase of mechanical ventilators by the Department of Health and Social Care direct from suppliers as part of the response to the Covid-19 Pandemic in the United Kingdom.
Section IV: Procedure
In March the NHS across the UK had access to approximately 8 000 ventilators. Modelling based the trajectory of other European countries forecast the need for significant and extremely rapid increase in the UK ventilator capacity. The Prime Minister outlined the need in March 2020 for a rapid increase in ventilator capacity recognising that coronavirus is the biggest threat this country had seen for decades and that we faced a moment of national emergency. Significant quantities of extra ventilators would be required to treat seriously ill patients during the first wave of infections. Similar shortfalls in ventilator stocks were identified globally. Pressure to increase manufacturing capacity of ventilators was immense, requiring urgent action and rapid delivery to meet that demand. In these circumstances a procurement following the usual timescales under the PCR 2015, including accelerated options, was impossible. Ventilator manufacturers and supply chains were under immediate and unprecedented global pressure to provide products. A delay in engaging with the market by running a usual procurement process ran the risk of failing to acquire the necessary stock of ventilator equipment and presenting a significant risk to life. The Department is satisfied the tests in Regulation 32(2)(c) are met:
1) purchasing mechanical ventilators was identified as strictly necessary to meet anticipated demand;
2) it is responding to Covid-19 immediately because of public health risks presenting a genuine emergency;
3) events leading to the need for extreme urgency were unforeseeable: the EC itself confirmed: ‘The current Coronavirus crisis presents an extreme and unforeseeable urgency — precisely for such a situation our European rules enable public buyers to buy within a matter of days, even hours, if necessary.’;
4) there was no time to run an accelerated PCR process particularly in light of the corresponding delays to timelines associated with securing increased manufacturing capacity and component supply within the required timescales;
5) it has not done anything to cause or contribute to the need for extreme urgency.
Section V: Award of contract
Section VI: Complementary information
Covid-19 is a Public Health Emergency of International Concern as declared by the World Health Organisation on 30 January 2020. The WHO Director General characterised Covid-19 as a pandemic on 11 March 2020. The use of ventilator equipment is critical in treating patients with Covid-19 to take over the body's breathing process when the disease has caused the lungs to fail and allow the patient time to fight off the infection and recover. The ‘Ventilator Challenge’ was created by the UK government and delivered across several government departments (Department of Health and Social Care, Cabinet Office and Ministry of Defence) as part of the drive to increase ventilator supply and support the UK National Health Service (NHS) in its response to Covid-19. It was recognised that buying sufficient mechanical ventilators was going to be a challenge and a dedicated sourcing team was established within the Department of Health and Social Care to be responsible for procuring mechanical ventilators from suppliers. Suppliers worldwide were considered by the sourcing team. The sourcing team worked in conjunction with NHS Supply Chain who have also ordered mechanical ventilators through their existing framework arrangements. This contract award notice is one a number of notices, in different currencies, that cover all of the direct purchases for mechanical ventilators by DHSC. Separate notices are published for each individual contract. The approach to procuring mechanical ventilators from the market was identical for all purchases. The purchases of mechanical ventilators occurred across the world with an emphasis, due to the availability of stock and manufacturing capacity, on the People’s Republic of China. All ventilator offers were assessed primarily against clinical need and the ability to supply and deliver the orders within timescales required.