The National Consortium for Medical Devices
The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport and a team of professionals from hospitals, university medical centres, suppliers and manufacturers have combined forces to set up the National Consortium for Medical Devices (Landelijk Consortium Hulpmiddelen, LCH). The non-profit objective of the consortium is − in the national interest − to procure various medical devices that are in danger of running out.
Information for suppliers
Since media attention concerning shortages of medical devices and personal protective equipment has increased, the ministry has received hundreds of messages from companies and private individuals that are able to deliver this protective equipment. All companies that would like to supply such equipment have been asked to submit tenders, from Dutch and foreign manufacturers, to the consortium via firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are specifically interested in tenders for large volumes. One of the most important conditions we place on all stocks offered to us is that we can inspect them for quality and completeness prior to procurement.
A great many people and organisations are eager to try and help solve the current shortages. Wherever possible, private initiators with small stocks are advised to offer them to the Red Cross (email@example.com). Masks do not necessarily have to be of the FFP1, FFP2 or FFP3 types, but can also be surgical masks, for example.
What products are we talking about?
The consortium is managing the procurement of the following products:
- FFP1, FFP2, FFP3 masks
- Protective coats
- Splash resistant safety spectacles
- Surgical masks (type IIR)
- Examination gloves
- Diagnostic tests (including polymerase chain reaction [PCR] materials, swabs and growth media)
- Ventilation equipment.
The consortium applies strict criteria when handling offers. The most recent guidelines drawn up by the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu, RIVMNational Institute for Public Health and the Environment
) are followed to ensure that healthcare staff can work safely (see the appendix for the product specifications).
You, too, can help by informing any parties that may contact you directly of these criteria.
- They should send an e-mail to the consortium, with company and contact details, attaching the following:
- Fully legible (uncensored) illustrations (showing all sides) of products and packaging
- Fully legible (uncensored) Conformité Européenne (CE) certificates and quality documents
- The quantities and physical location of the goods
- Clear pricing and payment terms.
Unfortunately, many of the offers the consortium receives come to nothing or are ultimately found to be infeasible. This may, for example, be because stocks are offered at exorbitant prices, or because further questions reveal that the products are not available at all. Moreover, the products offered may not meet the requirements or it may not be possible to check the reliability of the offerer or supplier in the short term.
Various companies and private individuals are very committed to helping procure medical devices and protective equipment. There are, for instance, large benefactors that are keen to donate significant funding and companies that are making their services and networks available. All these fantastic initiatives will be pooled in the consortium.
Companies and private individuals make proposals and offer materials with the best of intentions, but we are sometimes obliged to reject their offers. We test them against specifications, such as these drawn up by the RIVMNational Institute for Public Health and the Environment , to properly safeguard the quality and safety of products for healthcare staff (see table). This regularly leads to disappointments. We ask for your understanding in this matter.