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NHS risks wasting money on high-tech equipment

30th March 2011

The National Audit Office has warned that the health service could be wasting money on technical equipment.

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The watchdog said it examined the purchase of equipment such as MRI and CT scanners, and radiotherapy machines.

It said 50% of the equipment would require replacement by 2014 at an estimated cost of around £460 million.

The NAO warned that the health service was not making a collaborative effort in purchasing the equipment and that meant it could be wasting money.

The watchdog said in February that £500 million could be saved if NHS staff collaborated in the purchasing of everyday supplies, such as bandages.

The NAO's report stated that many trusts were acting independently although an agreement exists within the NHS to allow for discounts on bulk orders.

However 25% of purchases were not conducted within these rates.

The watchdog said the use of MRI and CT scans had tripled over the last decade, which meant addressing the issue of spending was vital.

NAO head Amyas Morse said solving the issues would be "challenging".

The Department of Health said the NAO's report had brought up a number of points which would "help improve the situation".

 

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