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Procurement in the NHS


Procurement in the NHS

Procurement in the NHS

The Shared Services of the Ministry of Health (Servi├žos Partilhados do Minist├ęrio da Sa├║de, EPE, SPMS), has the nature of public collective body, with a legal personality, administrative and financial autonomy and own assets, in accordance with the legal regime of the state business sector, and is subject to the tutelage of the members of the Government responsible for the areas of finance and health 0.

The mission is providing shared services – in the areas of purchasing and logistics, financial services, human resources and information and communication systems and technologies – to entities with specific activities in the health area, in order to “centralize, optimize and rationalize” the acquisition of goods and services in the National Health Service 0.

The procurement ÔÇťactivities include identifying and specifying the need, acquiring and managing the supply of goods from a third party, purchasing, contracting, contract and supplier management and supply chain managementÔÇŁ 0.

A procurement is made through the public health procurement catalogue, which is an instrument that facilitates the acquisition of goods and services, through Procurement Public Contracts, using the internet as a means of communication 0.

Public Health Procurement Catalogue

The Public Health Procurement Catalogue is intended for institutions and services integrated into the NHS and for suppliers of goods and services.

The objectives are 0:

  • facilitate the acquisition of institutions and services integrated into the NHS;
  • de-bureaucratize procurement procedures;
  • ensure transparency in the purchases of institutions and services integrated into the NHS;
  • ensure effective competition between suppliers;
  • greater efficiency in the management and control of supplies.

This catalogue is used for:

  • provides up-to-date information on existing goods and services in public procurement contracts and their public procurement;
  • it allows the online consultation on the public tenders, including the tender programs and specifications, admitting the presentation of the proposal via the internet;
  • online comparison of the goods and services in the catalogue for help with the purchase decision;
  • import of previously selected data for processing and printing, including forms for queries and orders.

So What?

Articles available on the Public Health procurement Catalogue:

  • Medicines;
  • Medical Devices;
  • Services;
  • Medicines/ Medical Devices;
  • Legal Advice;
  • Assets;
  • Biocides/ Medicines/ Cosmetics;
  • Equipment.

The Public Health Procurement Catalogue can be found through this link.

Routes for Purchasing

Public Procurement in the Health Area plays a vital role in the expenditure reduction strategy through the conclusion of public procurement instruments, such as Framework Agreements (Acordos- Quadro, AQs). Below is it described the process of the Framework Agreements.

Framework Agreement

Call off under the Framework Agreement

A framework agreement is a contract concluded between contracting authorities and entities, with a view to disciplining the legal, technical, economic and financial future acquisition of goods or services over a period of time. Under this instrument, suppliers provide all bodies of the State in accordance with the mandatory rules set out in the respective framework agreement in terms of prices, deadlines, service levels and quality of service, among other aspects 0.


With a priority for the dematerialisation of procedures, the implementation of improvements in the information system and sharing, SPMS created a portfolio to facilitate the research by the Health Institutions of the current AQs regarding medicines, medical devices, provision of medical services and cross-sectional goods and services 0.

Principles for Procurement in the NHS in Portugal

The Shared Services form Health Ministry (SPMS), created by Law n.┬║ 19/2010 ensures the services of procurement and logistics, financial management and specialized human resources and ICT systems for the entities of the Portuguese NHS. There is a public procurement manual available from SPMS, which can be consulted through this link 0 (just has Portuguese version).

By the Decree Order n.o 55/2013, SPMS is defined as the Central Purchasing Body for the health sector considering the acquisition of goods and services through public procurement contracts (topic 6 article 4, Law n.o 19/2010, of 22th of March).

The main goals of this Central Purchasing Body 0 are to centralise, optimize and rationalize the acquisitions of goods and services, provide purchasing service skills in purchasing strategy, pre-contractual, procedures, public contracting, payments and performance monitoring to assure effectivity and efficiency of the NHS. This body centralizes the Framework Agreements, the Purchasing and also an Electronic Catalogue of Public Purchasing0.

Types of procedures
Considering that the acquisition processes are directly related to a certain typology, the various types of procedures were identified:
1. Direct Adjustment (Ajuste Directo):
a. Normal
b. Simplified
2. Public Tender (Concurso P├║blico):
a. Normal
b. Urgent
3. Tender limited by prior qualification (Concurso limitado por pr├ęvia qualifica├ž├úo)
4. Negotiation procedure (Procedimento de Negocia├ž├úo)
5. Competitive dialogue (Diálogo Concorrencial)
6. Framework Agreement (Acordo Quadro).

For more information about the procedures and the choice of procedures, can be found in this link (just has Portuguese version).

Breakdown of Procurement Activity

The procurement activity for health follows the Public Procurement Code. After gathering the needs of good/services of the acquiring entities – public health institutions ÔÇô SPMS carry out a procurement procedure in accordance with the rules of the Public Procurement Codes.

The needs are published in the Portuguese Diário da República and at the Official Journal of the European Union as a public tender.

The SPMS disclose the information ÔÇô all the characteristics of the products covered by public procurement (CPA), which establish the conditions for acquisitions – through the Public Health Procurement Catalogue, on the website www.catalogo.min-saude.pt.

The contracts with the NHS signed through the SPMS, under the public tender scheme must respect the rules of the Public Procurement Code, unless an exception is granted by order of the member of Government responsible for health. Generally, the acquisitions must follow the criterions written in the specifications of the public tender.

Health institutions and potential suppliers of the NHS should be registered on the Electronic Platform for Health Procurement. The Procurement Procedures Code (Decree-Law n.┬║ 18/2008, and amendments), establishes that all purchases made by public bodies (publicly owned enterprises, local authorities, ministries, institutes, among others) have to be processed through electronic services. The Electronic Service used is vortalGOV that enables free access, consult of tender contract documentation and submittal of proposals.


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