Medical Cylinder Gases - Harrogate


Back in 2006 in our previous structure as NHS Yorkshire and the Humber CPC, we worked closely with the Yorkshire and Humber NHS Pharmaceutical Purchasing Consortium (YHPCC), looking at creating a more joined up workplan. It was agreed that YHPCC would work in collaboration with NOE CPC to develop a once only approach that would deliver service improvements and potential cost reductions to all members in addition to providing complete price transparency.

NOE CPC’s previous medical cylinder gases framework was very successful and popular amongst our members. The latest version of this agreement was created with the support of YHPCC and NOE CPC members. The medical cylinder gases framework contains a comprehensive portfolio of gases, delivery options, tracking systems and extensive training options. The robust tendering process ensured that NOE CPC has a reliable, flexible framework which is responsive to our customers needs. The suppliers’ products enhance patient care and meet the unique needs of healthcare professionals. The suppliers have been instrumental in developing innovative cylinder solutions to support our customers’ requirements.

The aim of the current agreement was to provide a framework solution that could be adopted by any NHS organisation within the UK, from large acute trusts to small district generals and health centres.  

The successor to this framework remains extremely popular with our customer base and has delivered significant benefits and savings over this period.

The project

Paul Dunn-Jones, NOE CPC Category Manager for Pharmacy led the procurement including formulating and finalising a specification for the provision of medical cylinder gases.

Paul compiled and managed the entire tender process and drafted all of the tender documents including questions and criteria. He has also provided ongoing support to trusts during the process and evaluation. Paul managed the moderation, wrote the standstill letters, issued them and concluded the process without challenge. As one of the first procurement hubs to undertake a procurement of this kind, a true testament to its success, the framework is still ongoing and delivering service benefits to trusts.

The procurement was conducted with a multi-disciplinary sourcing group that included representatives from portering and estates, and, most importantly, pharmacy leads. This will ensure ultimate confidence that all legislation is followed and that specifications are fit for use within any NHS trust.


This framework offers many benefits to users. The cylinder tracking and management system enables trusts to reduce their current stockholding and better utilise their existing cylinders. Utilising these systems will eliminate the risk of potential lost cylinders; these systems will also give trusts a clearer indication as to the location of these cylinders within the trust. Systems like these can assist in tracking the expiry date of cylinders and reducing the risk of out of date cylinders being used in the clinical environment.

The current agreement is a three-year framework (plus a 12-month option to extend) that delivers sustainable savings to the NHS, provides an efficient and effective route to conduct business for both trusts and suppliers, and offers a “one stop shop” for all medical cylinder gases and delivery solution needs that came into the scope of the specification. 

The framework provides a compliant route to market for Trusts for the provision of:

  • Medical Carbon dioxide
  • Medical air
  • Medical helium and oxygen mixture
  • Speciality gases
  • Medical nitrous oxide
  • Medical Oxygen
  • Any specialised “prescription” gases


“Paul has been really helpful and supportive throughout the tender process and during the ensuing contract.  Any issues have been escalated straight away, he has been a powerful advocate with BOC for resolving problems at the highest level. We have made significant savings to our cylinder rental charges as a result of his help with managing cylinder holdings and getting the best from BOC.”

Sarah Turnbull, Governance Pharmacist at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust