NHS overspend on 'basics'2nd February 2011
A report has said the health service hospitals in England could make savings of around £500 million annually by improving the methods they use to purchase supplies.
The National Audit Office investigated the ways in which hospitals bought 66,000 products, including bandages, uniforms and paper clips.
The NAO said some hospitals were spending more than was necessary on items. However it said reforms meant that MPs will not have the ability in future to influence how everyday supplies are bought.
Hospitals in England pay out around £4.6 billion annually on supplies. The report showed that hospitals were spending different amounts on the same items.
The average variation in spending was 10%, but 5,000 items showed variations of 50% and above.
The NAO said hospitals bought different types of the same product. In 61 trusts, hospitals bought 21 varying types of A4 paper and 652 different types of surgical gloves.
Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said: "In the new NHS of constrained budgets, trust chief executives should consider procurement as a strategic priority."
"Given the scale of the potential savings which the NHS is currently failing to capture, we believe it is important to find effective ways to hold trusts directly to account to Parliament for their procurement practices."
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Title: NHS overspend on 'basics'
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 17421
Date Added: 2nd Feb 2011