Fleet management company Fraikin has won a contract to keep the National Blood Service’s vehicles on the road.
Fraikin will provide both a structured maintenance programme and a breakdown and recovery service for the service’s fleet of 500 vehicles ranging from emergency cars through to mobile blood donation clinics.
The contract will run for three years, with the option of one-year extensions for each of the following four years, and will cover the whole of England and North Wales including many remote rural areas as well as London and other cities.
Under public procurement rules the National Blood Service is obliged to put the contract out to tender and this is the third time running that Fraikin has been successful: it has maintained the service’s fleet and provided breakdown cover since 2002.
Seven companies expressed an interest this time and three were shortlisted.
Larry Bannon, national fleet services manager at the National Blood Service, said: “We have to base all of our considerations as if we didn’t know any of the tenderers so we asked everybody to do a presentation as if this was the first time we had ever met them.
“Based on that, we were able to impartially listen to all the presentations and look at all the services that they could offer and Fraikin came out as the best value overall.”
One of the major criteria was that the network of repairers and recovery agents cover virtually every square mile of the National Blood Service’s operating area to make sure service is not compromised.
“If there is a breakdown, the first question is: ‘Is there blood on board?’ and, if there is not, the second question is: ‘Are you on the way to a blood donation session?’
“A priority sequence kicks in, and Fraikin were absolutely superb in working this priority sequence out with us.”
The service’s fleet includes many highly specialised vehicles.
The vans which transport donated blood to and from the service’s processing centres have to be able to operate at two different temperatures: blood coming in is transported at 21C and processed blood products being delivered to hospitals is usually transported at 4C.
Likewise, the mobile donation clinics (internally known as Bloodmobiles) which have three beds for donors at any one time are all 7.5 tonne vehicles which require air conditioning, plumbing, 240 Volt electricity supply, generators, freezers, stores and offices as well as clinic beds and specialised medical equipment.
Other vehicles include blue-light emergency cars for transporting urgently-needed blood and minibuses for taking nurses and other staff to blood donation sessions at public venues such as sports centres and town halls.