Procurement and Commissioning during COVID-19: reflections and (early) lessons
Keywords:procurement, commissioning, healthcare, COVID-19, pandemic, extreme urgency, unregulated procurement, probity, integrity, conflicts of interest
This commentary reflects on some common themes that are starting to emerge in the early analysis of the healthcare procurement and commissioning response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although it largely results from the observation of the situation in the English NHS, the most salient issues are common to procurement in other EU healthcare systems, as well as more broadly across areas of the public sector that have strongly relied on the extremely urgent procurement exception in the aftermath of the first wave of the pandemic. Given the disfunction and abuse of ‘unregulated procurement’ in the context of COVID-19, the commentary reflects on the longer term need for suitable procurement rules to face impending challenges, such as Brexit and, more importantly, climate change.