Collaborative Purchasing Organisations

Tim Root, Assistant Head, NHS Specialist Pharmacy Service, Specialist Pharmacy ServicePublished

Group purchasing power

Collaborative Purchasing Organisations (CPOs) are regional groups that manage the procurement of miscellaneous pharmacy products and services in England.

CPO regions

There are currently 9 CPOs in operation across England.

The North West Region utilises contracts set up by NHS Shared Business Services (SBS) or by external CPOs.

NE North East Pharmacy Procurement Service

YH Yorkshire and Humber NHS Pharmacy Purchasing Consortium

EM East Midlands Pharmacy Collaborative

WM Health Trust Europe

EoE East of England Collaborative Procurement Hub

TVW Thames Valley and Wessex Pharmacy Procurement Service

L London Procurement Partnership

SW Peninsular Purchasing and Supplies Alliance

SEC South East Coast NHS Commercial Solutions

NW North West (not a CPO)

Pharmacy products and services managed by the CPOs

The types of  products and services managed by the regional CPOs in England include:

  • Cleanroom consumables
  • Compounding Services including dose banded chemotherapy
  • Contrast media and consumables
  • Drug Testing Kits
  • Emergency boxes
  • Enteral feeds
  • Eye products including Viscoelastics, hylauronidase
  • Fibrin sealants
  • Homecare (excluding four national contracts managed by CMU)
  • Imports
  • Insulin pumps and consumables
  • Liquid oxygen
  • Medical Gas Cylinders
  • Nitric oxide
  • Overlabelled medicine packs
  • Parenteral Nutrition
  • Pharmacy Automation
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Urinalysis and pregnancy testing kits
  • Wholesalers
  • Wound care

The benefits of CPOs

These organisations are recognised and understood by the supplier base. The NPPSC is developing national documentation for contracts based on best practice which can then be used at regional and devolved nation level.

C is for Collaboration

The procurement of pharmacy products and services is managed effectively through the regional collaborative purchasing organisations:

  • Collaborative groups can and do join together to share workload.
  • The maximum size of market share that can be tendered at any time should be agreed by the RPPS.
  • As a general principle  no one brand of pharmacy product or contract with any one service provider should be awarded by more than 4 CPOs at any one time,  to avoid the risk of limiting competition (new suppliers can be locked out for 4 years) and limiting opportunities for market management.
  • A collaborative group should not try to recruit individual Trusts from another region as this will undermine the collaborative strength of that region, confuses suppliers and can make contracts harder to manage.