Freedom of Information Request: 0625 2019/20
University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) completed a merger by acquisition of Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HEFT) on 1st April 2018. Due to historical differences in data collection/reporting across UHB and the former Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust this response has been provided by hospital site.
The Trust does hold the information that you have requested but we are withholding some of it for the following reasons:
Section 43 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) provides,
“(2) Information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any person (including the public authority holding it).”
A commercial interest relates to a person’s ability to participate competitively in a commercial activity, with the underlying aim being to make a profit. The information you have requested is the commercial information of the third parties named in the below response and in order to apply section 43(2), the Trust must satisfy itself that disclosure of the information would, or would be likely to, prejudice or harm the commercial interests of any person (including the Trust).
Disclosure of all the information requested would be likely to prejudice the commercial activities of the third parties, in this case the supplier of our most commonly used Mono-Focal Intra Ocular Lens in 2018/2019 – Lenstec.
The information you have requested is around the yearly contract value to the Trust. Providing the supplier name, model and price per lens would reveal the supplier’s pricing structure. Disclosing this to the world at large would involve placing elements of the providers’ commercial strategy into the hands of their competitors, which would prejudice their commercial interests.
Therefore S43 (2) of the FOIA is engaged as disclosure of the information requested would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of the suppliers.
The public interest test
Commercially sensitive information is protected from disclosure by Section 43(2) of the FOIA which is a qualified exemption subject to the public interest test. The Trust considered, in all the circumstance of the case, where the balance of the public interest lies.
Public interest in maintaining the exemption
There is a public interest in protecting the commercial interests of individual companies such as our suppliers, and ensuring they are able to compete fairly in a commercial environment.
Disclosure of information may cause unwarranted reputational damage to the Trust or the suppliers whose information it holds, which may in turn damage its commercial interests through loss of trade.
Revealing information such as product prices can be detrimental to the Trust’s negotiations on future tenders with other providers. If a competitor knows how much the Trust paid for a product then it can exploit this for profit or other gain.
Public interest in disclosing the information
To promote openness and transparency of public expenditure, which would enable the public to better scrutinise how public money is spent.
The balancing exercise
The Trust decided the public interest in maintaining the exemption substantially outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.
- Please specify the Cataract volume and Intra Ocular Lens spend in the following years:
Year Cataract Volumes IOL £ Value ex VAT
2018 4140 Circa £205,000
2019 4924 Circa £245,000
- Please specify the Trust’s current supplier of Intra Ocular Lenses:
Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB) – Rayner Intraocular Lenses & Alcon
Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull Hospitals (HGS) – Lenstec, Alcon, Spectrum/Vision Pharmaceuticals
- Please indicate below the route of purchase.
If supply is via an agency of purchasing group/hub, please provide the name:
- What was the most commonly used Mono-Focal Intra Ocular Lens in 2018/2019 Please specify supplier name, model and price per lens for the most commonly used Mono- Focal Intra Ocular Lens, in 2018/2019.
Supplier Name – Lenstec
Supplier Model – SOFTECH HD 1 PIECE IOL
Price per lens (ex VAT) – Withheld under the Freedom of Information Act (2000) please see above for full details
Which IOL is preferred Hydrophilic or Hydrophobic? – Hydrophobic
- Most Recent Contract Award
Please specify when the most recent contract was awarded for the supply of Intra Ocular Lenses and provide the length of the contract:
Date of Award – New Contract anticipated to commence 01/03/2020
Contract Length 3 years
- Date of next planned Tender / Contract Award Please provide the expected commencement date of the next planned Tender for the supply of Intra Ocular Lenses. Please also provide the expected date of the Contract Award.
Date of next planned Tender for IOL supply – Route to market for future IOL requirements not yet decided
Date of next Contract Award for IOL supply – 01/03/2023
- Phaco Emulsification Equipment
Please provide details of the Phaco Emulsification Equipment installed:
Brand of Installed Phaco Machines, the number of machines, estimated date of renewal
QEHB – 1 x Alcon Centurion Vision System estimated renewal 2029
1 x Alcon Infiniti Vision System estimated renewal 2023
HGS – 1 x Bausch & Lomb Stellaris Vision Enhancement System
1 x Bausch & Lomb Stellaris Anterior System
Both HGS machines estimated renewal is 2023