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FOI release

FOI – 000180 Water distributed to NHS Scotland (HTML)

Published on 26 August 2022

Date received - 01 August 2022 | Date responded - 26 August 2022

Request

Sir/Madam

I have been told by NHS Borders that bottled water has been procured by National Services Scotland (NSS) under an NHS National Procurement contract with Bidfood, an international food and drink distributor wholly owned by the Bidcorp Group a trading division of BFS Group Limited a subsidiary of the Bidcorp Group, an international broad-line foodservice group, listed on the JSE, South Africa.

Request

  1. Please advise how much water was bought and distributed to NHS units between January 2020 and June 2022.

  2. Please detail the bottle size(s) bought, the Brand and the unit cost and total cost of the purchases.

  3. Please advise where the bottles were distributed to in the NHS and how many were distributed to each location.

  4. Please advise which distributers were asked to quote other than Bidfood.

  5. Please advise why Welsh bottled water was chosen rather than Scottish tap water.

Response

I refer to your freedom of information request that we received on 01 August 2022. I can advise you that we have now completed the search of our records and can provide you with the following information:

I have been told by NHS Borders that bottled water has been procured by National Services Scotland (NSS) under an NHS National Procurement contract with Bidfood, an international food and drink distributor wholly owned by the Bidcorp Group a trading division of BFS Group Limited a subsidiary of the Bidcorp Group, an international broad-line foodservice group, listed on the JSE, South Africa.

1. Please advise how much water was bought and distributed to NHS units between January 2020 and June 2022.

Circa 152,673 cases of bottled water, costing circa £608,000 were purchased and distributed to NHS units/boards between January 2020 and June 2022.

2. Please detail the bottle size(s) bought, the Brand and the unit cost and total cost of the purchases.

Under section 33(1)(b) of the Freedom of information Scotland Act 2002, NHS National Services Scotland (NSS) cannot provide unit costs for individual brands as its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the commercial interests of any person (including, without prejudice to that generality, a Scottish public authority). Due to shortages, pandemic requirements and changes in manufacturing, the unit cost and brand were not able to be calculated per bottle size.

We have however provided a list of brands below that have been used throughout this period: (Products in bold are Flavoured Water)

  • Strathmore
  • Highland Spring
  • Princes
  • Princes Gate
  • Evian
  • Radnor
  • Aqua
  • Springbourne
  • Volvic
  • Harrogate
  • Bleu

As per response to question 1, circa 152,673 cases of bottled water, costing circa £608,000 were purchased and distributed to NHS units/boards between January 2020 and June 2022. We have also provided a breakdown of estimated total costs below. Some products would not have been delivered and possibly damaged, volumes and cost details in relation to this will not be available until the end of each financial year (April 2023). Additionally, due to shortages across the whole sector, hospitals have been buying from alternative sources and as such, we do not hold the exact volumes.

  • Flavoured water – Circa £85,477
  • 1.5ltr, 1ltr, 2ltr water - Circa £65,297
  • 330ml water - Circa £214,547
  • 550ml water - Circa £242,659

Please find attached Appendix 1 - Sizes & quantity of bottled water, which shows the information we can provide.

3. Please advise where the bottles were distributed to in the NHS and how many were distributed to each location.

Under section 17 of the Freedom of Information Scotland Act 2002, an organisation does not have to provide the information if it does not hold that information. Where any particular Health Board is not included in the data this will be because NSS does not hold any information detailing any purchases via Bidfood. Please find attached Appendix 2 - Quantity and location of water distributed to NHSS, which details where the bottles were distributed to in the NHS, how many were distributed to each location and the total spend of each Health Board.

4. Please advise which distributers were asked to quote other than Bidfood.

Under section 17 of the Freedom of Information Scotland Act 2002 an organisation does not have to provide the information if it does not hold the information. This is a national contract for grocery products which includes bottled water which no distributers were invited to quote. This was sent out to notice in 2017 for any supplier who met the criteria to apply and was awarded to Bidfood. Please see the following link to the public contract - View Contract - Public Contracts Scotland.

5. Please advise why Welsh bottled water was chosen rather than Scottish tap water.

Under section 17 of the Freedom of Information Scotland Act 2002 an organisation does not have to provide the information if it does not hold the information. NSS does not hold this information. NSS cannot advise on this, you would have to contact the individual Health Boards to obtain their reasons behind this. If you wish to contact the Health Boards you can do so using the details we have provided below:

I trust you will find the information of assistance and if you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact us.

If you are unhappy with any aspect of how we have dealt with your request you can make representations to us asking us to review the handling of your request.

If you require any further information please contact Associate Director Information Security & Governance, within 40 working days of the date of this correspondence.

Contact

Email: nss.foi@nhs.scot

Address

NHS National Services Scotland Headquarters Gyle Square 1 South Gyle Crescent Edinburgh EH12 9EB

If after a review you are still unhappy, you also have the right to apply to the Scottish Information Commissioner, who can be contacted at Kinburn Castle, St Andrews, Fife, KY16 9DS, or via their application form.

National Services Scotland (NSS) is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. You can view all FOI responses within our FOI Publications repository.