Representing estates and facilities professionals operating within the  



NHS Supply Chain welcomes the release of DEFRA’s Plan for Public Procurement

In welcoming the publication of DEFRA’s Plan for Public Procurement, Stephanie Gibney, Ethical and Sustainability Manager at NHS Supply Chain, said: “We have a commitment to responsible nutrition and responsible food sourcing within our Sustainable Development Strategy 2013-2016. We also have a commitment to promote Government Buying Standards for Food and Catering and encourage uptake with NHS Trusts as one of the largest suppliers of food to the NHS.”

NHS Supply Chain has a wide variety of food framework agreements within its portfolio which are essentially food procurement only and do not have a service provision. Food sales are £155m annually and as a major supplier of food to the NHS, NHS Supply Chain accounts for approximately 25% of NHS Trust food supplies.

SMEs currently represent 28% of NHS Supply Chain’s sales and in the food category there is already a strong participation from local and regional SMEs supplying to Trusts in their area.

NHS Supply Chain has established a network of approximately 30 regional and local SMEs delivering locally sourced fresh produce to hospitals in their vicinity through the Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Framework. NHS Supply Chain also has a framework agreement in place for meat and poultry with a similar number of regional SMEs and a milk, dairy and bread framework agreement with a network of over 20 SMEs supplying these products to hospitals.


A key element of the toolkit within the Plan for Public Procurement is the adoption of Government Buying Standards for Food and Catering (GBSF).

“Although not mandated to adopt GBSF NHS Supply Chain has a strong commitment to support the Government Buying Standards in the letting of our contracts, through our supplier relationships and in our engagement with NHS customers. This support has involved working with our suppliers to understand levels of compliance with GBSF, making the information visible and transparent to our customers so it can inform their procurement decision and encouraging uptake of products which support GBSF as a way of delivering sustainable value to the NHS,” explains Gibney. “The Plan for Public Procurement builds on existing engagement with our food suppliers on GBSF and will only enhance the importance of this on-going piece of work.”

The Plan for Public Procurement also complements the work of the Hospital Food Standards Panel which NHS Supply Chain has been a part of through the expert reference group on Sustainability, Food Waste and Animal Welfare.