Andrew New, chief executive of NHS Supply Chain

NHS Supply Chain has signed a lease for a new purpose-built regional distribution centre (RDC) in Widnes, which will be operated by its logistics partner Unipart Logistics.

The new site will be known as NHS Supply Chain Gorsey Point and is set to replace the existing Runcorn site currently operated by Unipart Logistics, after the lease expires at the end of March 2023.

NHS Supply Chain said the new site’s increased capacity, which is equivalent to six professional sized football pitches, will better meet the future needs of the network and allow it to accommodate a broader range of products.

The site has over 60,000 pallet spaces, giving the network the ability to hold increased levels of stock and provide enhanced supply chain resilience. This added capacity will also allow the network to respond better to changes and peaks in demand, NHS Supply Chain said.

Chris Holmes, supply chain director, added: “This is a significant step within our transformation activity to increase capacity in our network.

“This investment will ensure that the appropriate infrastructure is in place to deliver the future needs of patients, and that the network is invested in to deliver the best possible service to the NHS.”

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Claire Salmon, Unipart director, said the new site will help it continually improve its service to NHS organisations. She added: “We are committed to leveraging the strength of our people and operations to deliver health sustainably.

“The new site at Gorsey Point is a fit for purpose building with BREEAM certification and facilities in line with the award-winning standards of Suffolk Park.

Salmon said the proximity of the site to the current site at Runcorn, six miles away, will help Unipart retain “the valuable experience and expertise of colleagues.”

NHS Supply Chain manages the sourcing, delivery and supply of healthcare products, services and food for NHS trusts and healthcare organisations across England and Wales.

It manages more than 8 million orders a year, across 94,000 order points and under 17,500 locations.

NHS Supply Chain delivers over 28 million lines of picked goods to the NHS annually and consolidates orders from over 930 suppliers, with a brief to save NHS Trusts time and money in removing duplication of overlapping contracts.