FMV's procurement expertise in demand during the Corona outbreak
The Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) has a socially important role and during the Corona outbreak, the authority has used its procurement expertise to provide support to the Swedish Armed Forces and the National Board of Health and Welfare.
In mid-March, the National Board of Health and Welfare was commissioned to secure access to personal protective equipment (PPE) at national level and to distribute it and other material as a result of the spread of Covid-19. In this context, the FMV's Director General, Göran Mårtensson, contacted the National Board of Health and Welfare to offer assistance with the procurement-related work.
The National Board of Health and Welfare then asked FMV to assist in its efforts to purchase PPE, as well as planning for any other purchases of other types of medical equipment. This work is about increasing the capacity in assignments that have already begun, as well as assisting in starting assignments that have not yet started and where other actors can assist with essential knowledge and experience. This applies to support at an overall level in order to be able to develop agreements and make larger purchases, calls and procurements, but also to quality-assure contracts and provide a second opinion.
Agreement on ventilators
The National Board of Health and Welfare has signed an agreement with Getinge, which entails that they will reconfigure their production process and immediately commence production of so-called Servo-U ventilators. It is a mechanical breathing aid that is used in hospitals when a patient has difficulty breathing. FMV has contributed to this work by drafting the contract and negotiating the terms.
The agreement with Getinge illustrates some challenges in having this type of public service assignment. This partly concerns the challenge of acting quickly during such a crisis, when many different parties want to obtain the same equipment, and partly it is a challenge to conclude a contract that FMV is negotiating on behalf of another public authority.
And now the contract has been signed, after a very quick effort intended to get ventilators to the healthcare system as soon as possible. Sweden now has a domestic production capability in place, which means that it will be possible to obtain ventilators quickly.
Delivery of medical supplies
In addition to assisting the National Board of Health and Welfare, FMV also assists the Swedish Armed Forces with the supply of medical equipment in the form of e.g. ventilators, monitors and blood and fluid warmers, but also other protective equipment such as face masks, protective gloves, visors and protective clothing, which are now in high demand as a result of Covid-19.
The Armed Forces redistribute some of its equipment to civilian healthcare services. FMV and the Armed Forces therefore hold daily meetings in order to reduce the requirements for what needs to be replenished and purchased. Some resupply occurs automatically through the Armed Forces' own efforts and some occurs through the efforts of FMV, when it concerns new or more specialised equipment.
Helicopters for transporting the sick
A request from the National Board of Health and Welfare for Armed Forces’ helicopters to be prepared to transport severely ill Covid-19 patients resulted in hectic work during Easter week and weekend for staff at FMV and the Armed Forces.
At FMV, this involved product managers, chief engineers, ILS engineers and staff from FMV Testing and Evaluation. At the Armed Forces, this involved air crews, doctors, healthcare personnel and other service staff.
The work entailed, in brief, investigating how civilian medical equipment and healthcare personnel could be deployed in the two types of helicopter. The patients would be anaesthetized, intubated and connected to equipment. Power supply, patient safety and protection of the crew were issues that needed to be resolved, as well as how to carry out cleaning after the transport task was completed.
As a result of this collaboration, the Swedish Armed Forces are ready to provide support to the public services if the need arises. The capability now exists to combine military and civilian equipment and to do so safely. This means safe for the patient, safe for the flight itself and safe for the personnel.
Proactively anticipating new needs
FMV is also conducting internal analysis work to investigate what equipment, other than what is currently in demand, we could provide to the public services. We are doing this in order to be prepared and proactive with regard to new needs that may arise.