NHS seeds £50m robotic surgery framework
Procurement body begins market research ahead of planned contract launch next year
Credit: US Army/Marcy Sanchez/Public domain
The NHS has begun the process of developing a £50m framework for “robotic surgical equipment”.
Health-service procurement organisation NHS Supply Chain has issued a prior information notice outlining its intent to launch a major new commercial agreement next year.
The framework, which may or may not be split into lots, is expected to cover robotic surgery systems – and related accessories – “that cover a wide range of medical procedures”. This is likely to include laparoscopic, orthopaedic, and general surgery.
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NHS Supply Chain is currently undertaking market research into existing robotic surgery technologies, ahead of issuing a contract notice – which is due to take place in February next year.
The resulting framework is ultimately expected to be worth £10m to the chosen suppliers during its first year in operation. Spending through the deal is forecast to reach £50m over its lifespan.
While not in widespread use, robotic surgery platforms have been used in NHS settings since as far back as 2004, when Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in London installed a da Vinci robot. The machine allows human surgeons to operate four robotic arms, which can be used to minutely control surgical instruments. The system also offers the ability to view patients’ bodies at up to 10 times the magnification of the human eye.
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New contract has four times as many providers as outgoing deal, but it is not clear how long it will take for all systems to be available to buy