This blog post shares a letter of thanks from Secretary of State for the Department of Health and Social Care the Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP to Volo for our voluntary contribution to the NHS PPE Portal as part of the pandemic response.
We use our blog as a platform for sharing news, research and best practices in ecommerce. It’s not often we blow our own trumpet, but on this occasion we wanted to share a letter of thanks we received recently from the UK Government for our work to power the eBay-NHS PPE Portal over the last two years.
What seems like a very long ago, we first blogged about our involvement in this project. Two years later, the portal has shipped approaching 7 billion items of PPE equipment. The Volo Origin platform has managed the PPE listings and processed all the orders, connecting directly into eBay. We also provided considerable ongoing support and maintenance, not charging for our technology and expertise.
We’re obviously happy to have made our voluntary contribution to the nation’s response to the pandemic. We also think the project is the perfect illustration of how immensely robust and powerful the Volo system is to have processed billions of items and hundreds of millions of orders, while helping all our customers to navigate a particularly turbulent period, during which ecommerce trade increased dramatically.
The letter also shares some graphs on the PPE volumes, and we thought we’d include the wording from the Secretary of State below.
26th May 2022
Dear partners at Volo
We would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude for your services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the height of the pandemic, eBay and Volo provided integral expertise and critical capability through establishing an online platform for the distribution of PPE. For nearly two years, you have worked tirelessly and on a pro bono, voluntary basis, demonstrating the very best capabilities of your industry. This project has been amongst those at the forefront of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic and you have all played a crucial role in it.
The adaptation of this platform, that was stood up at an exceptional pace within an extremely pressurised environment, has grown to become the primary route for non- acute health and social care to access their critical COVID-19 PPE.
Your efforts have helped provide protection for staff, patients, clients, workers, service users and communities across England. By the New Year of 2021, over a billion items of PPE and related products had been shipped across England. As of March 2022, well over 6 billion items have been shipped (with distribution statistics for the PPE Portal being published alongside other releases on GOV.UK).
The success of this initiative and the reach across the health and care sector has led to the Department of Health and Social Care, in collaboration with NHS Supply Chain, implementing a new platform to build upon these successes and learn from them. This will ensure supply and distribution routes are sufficiently robust and adaptable for evolving requirements and future crises.
This project is an excellent example of how government and industry can join forces to overcome key challenges. The PPE Portal was recognised as an “outstanding innovation” when it was shortlisted to the final three for the Civil Service Awards category of ‘Collaboration’ in 2021.
Although countless individuals have worked on the platform throughout its lifespan, we would especially like to (re-)acknowledge the following:
Chris Farrelly, Scott Bagnall and Tony Kyberd for being available throughout operations and ensuring the vital transmission of orders data continued right up until April 2022.
Finally, we’d like to re-thank the Volo leadership team for helping to make this initiative a reality and a tremendous success. The UK’s Department of Health and Social Care is immensely grateful for your invaluable contributions to our collective efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
RT HON SAJID JAVID MP
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